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RNC Goes On Air in NY-20 Special

The Republican National Committee is going up on television with ads in support of New York state Assemblyman Jim Tedisco in his special election bid in the state's 20th district, an early sign that newly elected chairman Michael Steele plans to wade into downballot races to reassert the party's competitiveness across the country and in the northeast in particular.

The ad, which was produced by Tedisco's campaign but funded -- to the tune of roughly $80,000 -- by the RNC, will be on Albany broadcast television, which reaches 80 percent of the district's voters, starting this evening.

The commercial is a typical bio spot, painting Tedisco as a man of the people who has "dedicated his life to serving others" and touts his work to provide property tax relief and save jobs during his time in the Assembly.

"The Republican Party will no longer ignore the Northeast," pledged Steele. "Our conservative principles are applicable to every county and corner of this country."

Steele has fertile ground in which to work in this his first special election race since winning the RNC chairmanship last month.

The 20th district has roughly 70,000 more registered Republican than Democrats although it had been represented by Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) before she was named by Gov. David Paterson as Hillary Clinton's replacement in the Senate. While President Obama carried the district by three points in 2008, it went for George W. Bush by eight and seven points in 2004 and 2000, respectively.

Tedisco is a well-known figure in the area -- his nickname is "Mr. Schenectady" -- and an early poll released by his campaign showed him with a wide lead over businessman Scott Murphy (D) who has never before run for political office.

Republicans -- publicly and privately -- view this special election, which is scheduled for March 31, as a critical moment for a party badly beaten at the ballot box in 2006 and again in 2008.

A win in New York's 20th would almost certainly enliven -- to a certain extent -- the Republican activist and donors bases, an absolute necessity for the GOP to run competitive 2009 races in Virginia and New Jersey and to reclaim some of their losses in the House and Senate in 2010 and, especially, 2012.

But, while national Republicans probably need this seat more than Democrats do, Murphy is running aggressively -- the latest evidence of which is his well-reviewed first ad (entitled "Sunday Dinner").

It remains to be seen whether the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which currently holds $16.4 million in debt, will dig into its pockets to help Murphy on the air and in the mailboxes of voters in the district.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 17, 2009; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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leapin - Economics is social science. There are no laws. Plenty of theories but no laws. [And yes, I know that there is a theory of gravity. It works, mostly. Just don't try it near a black hole.] There wasn't a Federal Reserve in the 3rd century. No IMF during the black ages. And, though the Prodigal Son may prove me wrong, I'm pretty sure they didn't have collateralized debt obligations in biblical times.

Your misplaced certainty in some fabled laws of economics renders your point of view suspect, to say the least.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 19, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: theinterweb | February 18, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The laws of economics are immutable - they function whether we want them to or not, and are independent of the pretension of legislators. They will not be mocked, nor will they, even when confronted by all the HOPE in the world, be CHANGED.
In America today, our ignorance of economics is only be exceeded by our intellectual confusion. Our collective ignorance has enabled the naming of the massive misplacement of wealth now pondered by the Senate, as a STIMULUS package. And our intellectual confusion is so profound that it leads us to conclude that the SOLUTIONS to our problems come from Washington D.C. - the primary SOURCE of them.
Plato's pupil Aristotle once wrote an essay entilted A is A. Its premise is that something can only be what it is - it simply CANNOT be anything else. He further postulated that the refusal to recognize this simple notion is the foundation for endless strife in our personal and societal lives.
The Ancient Greeks were pretty smart..................
They didn't like Kings.
And they knew that A will always be A - no matter what you call it.

Posted by: leapin | February 18, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

The RNC is the party of ancient political tactics...more knee-jerk irrational bantering..if they had any sense (I am not accusing either party of having any) .. they would lay back and wait for their moment to pounce...maybe some of us might that point.

I thought that Axel and Poof taught the great lesson over the last two years.. wait for the issues to come to you and then pounce like a predatory cat! The issue today won't be the issue that decides future elections!

Posted by: newbeeboy | February 18, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

When the 20th CD lines were drawn in 2002, the Republicans held a 93,000 voter advantage, plus 9,200 Conservative Party members. Now its down to 70,000, which shows that New York State Republicans are in deep trouble, even in their most traditionally reliable parts of the state.

In 1998, Republican John Sweeney won this district, which was open due to the retirement of Gerald Soloman, Sweeney only won 55% of the vote.

At the time, Republicans held a 90,000 voter advantage, plus 9,000 Conservative Party members. Also, in 1998, Governor George Pataki-R running for re-election, ran way ahead of Sweeney.

Thus, anything is possible in a special election in a district that went for Obama and Gillibrand.

Posted by: Digital_Voter | February 17, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm from the adjoining district in upstate New York, and the expectation up here is that Jimmy Boy will win, despite not living in the district and despite his years as a [very] lightweight member of the most dysfunctional legislature in the nation (Jimmy's only legislative achievement is a law making it illegal to set stray cats on fire).

NY-20 is really drawn as a R district, and the voter weight will work against Murphy, not to mention the compressed schedule of a special election. A 30 day campaign doesn't allow enough time for Murphy to make himself known against a guy whose mug has been before the voters for years.

Tis a pity, because we deserve better than "Mr. Schenectady."

Posted by: OliverKlozov | February 17, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Let the Republicans spend there money, $80,000 down the drain.

Posted by: shipfreakbo214 | February 17, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

'New York state Assemblyman Jim Tedisco in his special election bid in the state's 20th district, an early sign that newly elected chairman Michael Steele plans to wade into downballot races to reassert the party's competitiveness across the country and in the northeast in particular'

Eh, the republican party is not competitive in New York, and never will be again unless they change a great deal--back to maybe something like Jacob Javits.

There's a few rural upstate districts, but on the whole, not a chance.

Posted by: drindl | February 17, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

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