Saturday, April 25, 2009


Scott Murphy, a Democrat, has won the special election in New York's 20th Congressional district. Jim Tedisco, a Republican, conceded by phone call and press release yesterday afternoon (Friday). This election was held to fill the seat vacated by Kirsten Gillibrand, who was named by Gov. David Paterson to fill Hillary Clinton's Senate spot after Clinton became Secretary of State. The district is a red one; there are about 75,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats, the largest district edge for the GOP in the entire state, according to the New York Times.

Tedisco once held better than a 20-point lead in the polls. Consequently, there was a word beginning with R that was very popular among conservatives for a while …

John Fund, Wall Street Journal columnist, 28 March 2009:

New York Has a Referendum on Obama

The special House election upstate could have far-reaching consequences.

Susan Davis, Wall Street Journal political reporter, 26 March 2009:*

A U.S. House special election in upstate New York on Tuesday is turning into an early referendum on the Obama administration's economic agenda …


The Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee have spent nearly $1 million combined on the contest. The conservative National Republican Trust political action committee also stands to spend as much as $1 million on the race, using almost all of the money for negative ads against Mr. Murphy for his support of the stimulus.

Orange County Register editorial writers, 25 March 2009:

There’s a special election on Tuesday in NY’s 20th CD to fill the seat of Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed to Hillary’s US Senate seat. It could turn out to be an early referendum on President Obama …

Rick Pedraza,, 25 March 2009:

The special-election race between Murphy, a venture capitalist, and Tedisco is shaping up to be a referendum on the Obama administration's economic policies.

David Freddoso, National Review Online, 24 March 2009:

But now Obama's popularity is slipping everywhere as his honeymoon ends. [...] For this reason, the race is being viewed as an early referendum on the stimulus.

Representative Pete Sessions, chairman of the House Republican campaign committee, chose a different R-word on 1 April 2009 that is as laughable as his attempt to spin Tedisco blowing a 20-point lead as "closing the gap:"

Jim Tedisco has closed the gap in a district that has come to exemplify Democratic dominance. That is a testament to the strength of Jim’s campaign and the effectiveness of the Republican message of fiscal responsibility and accountability.

And let's just dip one toe into True Wingnuttia. From, 1 April 2009:

The winner of the special election in New York is Jim Tedisco, although you would never know by reading the mainstream press.


... this is the first significant election since Obama took office, the first one in which he attempted to spread coattails, and in truth a crushing defeat for Democratic political operatives. There is no moral victory in losing an election you expected to win.

And no, I don't think that was an April Fools' post. Remove the month and I'll go along.

Anyway ...

Let the backpedaling begin!

Congratulations, Representative Murphy!

And hurrah for President Obama! For winning his first referendum!

* The version of the Susan Davis article that is available for free is for some reason dated 15 April 2009, which makes no sense, because the election was held on 31 March. I got the 26 March date by Googling the headline on the WSJ's site and noting the datestamp on the link to the archived version behind the pay wall.

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