Obama Endorses Murphy in NY-20
President Obama is seeking to mobilize his grassroots army in support of businessman Scott Murphy's candidacy in the New York special election, a move Democrats hope will deliver them a come-from-behind victory next Tuesday.
"On Tuesday....voters will have a chance to send Scott to Congress, where we'll work together to get our economy moving in the right direction," wrote Obama in a message sent this morning to more than 50,000 supporters in and around the 20th district culled from the massive distribution list he built during the 2008 campaign. "Scott has the kind of experience and background we desperately need right now in Washington."
(Worth noting: In our five things to watch on this race, number ONE was whether Obama and the DNC would get involved.)
Officials at the Democratic National Committee said they were not sure whether the email would be the extent of Obama's involvement in the race or whether he might record an automated phone call on Murphy's behalf or even appear in a television ad before next Tuesday.
Operatives in both parties acknowledge that Murphy has made up considerable ground on state Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R) since the race began a few months ago. (The Upstate seat was vacated by Kirsten Gillibrand when she was appointed by Gov. David Paterson to the Senate opening created by Hillary Clinton's ascension to secretary of state.)
Over the past week, the race has transformed into a referendum on Obama's economic stimulus plan with Murphy attacking Tedisco's opposition to the bill as anti-jobs and Tedisco seeking to link Murphy's backing of the legislation to the exorbitant bonuses granted to AIG executives.
It was a near-certainty then that the result would be interpreted through a national lens; a win would be seen as a boost for Obama and his economic plans while a defeat would be painted as a rebuke. Knowing that, Obama and his team likely decided that he should spend a bit of his political capital to win a race that is going to be tied to him no matter whether he is involved or not.
To be clear: an email sent to his list is not as impactful as either a robo-call or an ad on Murphy's behalf. But, the public endorsement and the call to arms by a popular president can help Murphy around the edges, which, if polls are to be believed, may be where this race is decided.
March 25, 2009; 11:41 AM ET
Categories: House , White House
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