View Full Version : Economics Murphy beating Tedisco in NY-20 -- by 25 votes.

04-01-2009, 07:59 PM

The too-close-to-call special election in NY-20 just got considerably closer, the Albany Times Union reports.

Following a review of votes in Columbia County, Scott Murphy (D) still leads Jim Tedisco (R) -- but only by 25 votes, 77,217 to 77,192. That result peels off 127 votes for Murphy and 93 for Tedisco from last night's results.

"The narrowing of the gap doesn't change the main fact: Thousands of absentee ballots will essentially decide the race -- but not until after April 13."



Upstate New York House Race Is Too Close to Call
Published: March 31, 2009

A mere 65 votes separated the two candidates late Tuesday in a Congressional contest in upstate New York that received national attention and was widely seen as a referendum on the Obama administration’s economic recovery efforts.

With all precincts reporting, the Democrat, Scott Murphy, a 39-year-old venture capitalist, led 77,344 to 77,279 over his Republican rival, Assemblyman James N. Tedisco, 58, for the seat vacated by Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, a Democrat. The turnout was surprisingly strong for a special election.

But 10,055 absentee ballots were issued — and 5,907 received so far, state election officials said — meaning the election cannot be decided until the paper ballots are counted. Moreover, it is likely that the count may not begin until at least April 6, said Bob Brehm, a spokesman for the State Board of Elections.

Republicans held out hope of recapturing the seat in the 20th Congressional District, which is heavily Republican and stretches from the Catskills through the Albany suburbs to the Adirondacks. Democrats, meanwhile, waited to see whether their standard-bearer, a first-time political candidate who campaigned on his support for the federal stimulus package, could pull off an upset.

Mr. Murphy, a Missouri native unknown in the district until he began running television ads in February, faced a huge Republican registration advantage and an advertising onslaught by outside conservative groups. But he raised enough money to significantly outspend Mr. Tedisco in a race where voters complained that both sides went negative early and often.
Mr. Murphy closely aligned himself with President Obama, who narrowly won the district in November; Mr. Murphy also won support by promoting the stimulus package. Mr. Tedisco, who eventually came out against the stimulus, struggled to articulate a compelling economic message early on, but capitalized on outrage over bonuses for financial executives, portraying Mr. Murphy as sympathizing with Wall Street financiers more than ordinary upstate families.

Despite the uncertainty of the outcome, both candidates struck an optimistic chord. “The people in Washington said it couldn’t be done,” Mr. Murphy told cheering supporters in Saratoga Springs on Tuesday night. “The people in this room and all across the 20th District tonight said something very different.”

Mr. Tedisco took the stage at his own Saratoga Springs celebration with a joke: “From now on, just call me ‘Landslide Tedisco,’ ” he said. He added, with conviction: “I believe that when the smoke clears, we will have won a tremendous victory.”

Ms. Gillibrand and Gov. David A. Paterson — who created the Congressional vacancy by naming her to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Senate — both appeared with Mr. Murphy. Asked if she was concerned about absentee ballots, Ms. Gillibrand said: “We’re ahead. We’re going to win, I’m telling you.”

Mr. Paterson, sounding as if he was speaking of himself rather than of Mr. Murphy, told the crowd that no matter what the polls show, “If you believe and you work hard enough, and we all try enough, we can accomplish anything, and we just did.”

With polls showing the race neck-and-neck, both parties had sought to play down the stakes on Tuesday. “To even be competitive in a district like that I think demonstrates quite a bit,” said Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, aboard Air Force One.

For Republicans seeking a comeback, or at least a rallying point, the contest held promise. The party holds a voter registration advantage of about 70,000 in the district, the biggest Republican margin in New York. Republicans quickly chose Mr. Tedisco, an experienced campaigner and, as the Assembly minority leader, a familiar personality on Albany television. Democrats chose Mr. Murphy, who moved to Glens Falls only a few years ago.

With polls showing Mr. Tedisco with a lopsided advantage at the outset, the new Republican national chairman, Michael Steele, made the New York race a test of his leadership and began steering resources to Mr. Tedisco.

But the registration numbers may overstate how much of a built-in advantage Republicans really enjoy in the district. Beyond President Obama’s narrow edge, Ms. Gillibrand defeated a Republican incumbent in 2006, won re-election last year despite being outspent by about 2-to-1, and remains highly popular across party lines.

Mr. Murphy, who invested $250,000 of his own money and raised another $350,000 out of the gate, was first to advertise on television, and quickly seized on voters’ economic unease, making it the single focus of his campaign. When he came out in favor of the stimulus package while House Republicans voted unanimously against it, Mr. Murphy had an issue he could wield like a sledgehammer.

Mr. Tedisco’s dependency on national Republicans, meantime, seemed to hurt him: his refusal to say whether he would have voted for the stimulus allowed Mr. Murphy to gain momentum, loosening Democratic purse strings in Washington and providing enough cover for the administration to weigh in on Mr. Murphy’s behalf, if gingerly. By last Wednesday, President Obama delivered an endorsement by e-mail — fodder for Democratic ads, but not so personal an effort that it could be read as a failure for Mr. Obama were Mr. Murphy to lose.

By then, of course, Mr. Tedisco had rallied, emphatically declaring his opposition to the stimulus bill at an opportune moment: just as news broke that the same legislation had been stripped of a ban on $165 million in bonuses for executives at American International Group, the recipient of a huge federal bailout. Mr. Tedisco sought to lay those bonuses at his rival’s feet, saying Mr. Murphy had supported similar incentives for executives at companies he had invested in.

But it was unclear how much those attacks would help Mr. Tedisco, who already had been criticized for waging a more negative campaign than Mr. Murphy. “I just got another mailer saying, ‘A.I.G., A.I.G., A.I.G.,’ “ said Earl Canale, a 28-year-old independent who voted in Glens Falls on Tuesday morning. “It’s not like Murphy was responsible. Enough of the negativity already.”

As with any special election, turnout was hard to predict and the candidates left nothing to chance. Mr. Tedisco, who lives just outside the district and so could not vote himself, courted votes from dusk on Monday till late in the day on Tuesday.

Mr. Murphy voted in Glens Falls, stopped by several campaign offices urging volunteers to make a final push, and then headed out into the night.

04-01-2009, 08:00 PM

What the NY-20 "Tie" Means
by Nate Silver @ 3:43 AM

From an analytical standpoint, whether Scott Murphy remains ahead of Jim Tedisco after absentee ballots are counted (and that is anything but a sure thing) is largely immaterial. One of the candidates is going to win by not more than a hundred, maybe a couple hundred votes (and possibly by quite a bit less than that). The difference between winning and losing could be because someone's daughter got an ear infection and they drove her to the doctor instead of going to the polls, or someone happened to turn on their TV five minutes after a Tedisco commercial aired rather than five minutes before. When elections are decided by hundredths of a percentage point, there is a lot of luck involved.

But what does it mean, exactly, for the vote to have been split about evenly in this particular Congressional District?

What this very narrow fragment of evidence suggests -- it may be dangerous to overgeneralize -- is that not much has changed since last November. The PVI of NY-20 based on the 2000 and 2004 elections is R+3; based on the 2004 and 2008 elections, it's more like R+2. That is, NY-20 is between two and three points more Republican than the average Congressional District.

But keep in mind that the average Congressional District, at least in 2006 and 2008, had been highly inclined to vote Democratic. A Republican-leaning district at a Democratic-leaning moment in the political cycle is usually going to translate into being a toss-up -- and indeed, that's exactly what we find if we look at how the two parties performed on November 4th in districts that looked like NY-20:


Of 58 Congressional Districts with PVI's of between R+1 and R+4, the vote was almost an even split; Democrats were elected to the House in 30 of these districts on November 4th, and Republicans in the other 28. So our default expectation is that a district like NY-20 should indeed be a toss-up -- which is exactly what we wound up getting. The contest turned out about the same yesterday as we might have expected it to had it been held on November 4th.

The status quo, in other words, was more or less preserved. But the status quo, of course, is a much happier place if you're a Democrat than if you're a Republican...

04-02-2009, 07:22 AM
Because NY state needs more Democrat representation. The state is just thriving under their leadership.