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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Open Thread: NY-26 Victory Live Blog

( – promoted by Shaun Appleby)

Polls close at 9PM EDT in New York for the special election in New York’s 26th congressional district.  This seat was opened up by the resignation of Congressman Chris “Craigslist” Lee and it is attracting considerable national attention.

While highly favoured to be a safe Republican seat in normal circumstances the presence of a Tea Party candidate, the former Democratic challenger Jack Davis, and the arguably disastrous political miscalculation inherent in the Ryan budget Medicare phase-out has put the seat in play.

Recent polling shows a slight lead for the Democratic challenger, Kathy Hochul, who had aggressively campaigned on the Medicare issue for several weeks:

One day ahead of a special congressional election to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Chris Lee (R) in a traditionally red district, a new PPP poll finds Democrat Kathy Hochul on top by six points.

Among likely voters, Hochul came in at 42%, followed by Republican Jane Corwin at 36%, and Tea Party candidate Jack Davis at 13%.

Jon Terbush – Dem Hochul Leads By Six Points In NY-26 Special Election TPM 23 May 11

Concerns over the result have led the Republicans to dump large sums of money into the campaign in recent weeks, between them the NRCC and American Crossroads have spent over a million dollars on the race in an attempt to pull Corwin’s irons out of the fire.

Update: Hochul for the win.  AP calls it for Hochul at 10:22PM EDT

Both parties have brought in the big guns, apparently Republicans have enlisted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Democrats former President Bill Clinton to record last-minute robocalls on behalf of the respective candidates.  Steny Hoyer spoke up this morning:

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said at his weekly briefing this morning that no matter whether Hochul gets the upset, Democrats have already delivered a resounding message by making what should have been a “slam dunk” a nail-biter because of the Ryan budget.

Hoyer said the message from voters is: “We don’t want you to turn over our security to the insurance companies, we don’t want them making our decisions, we don’t want you to take a guarantee away from us to have security in our health care in our senior years.”

“You made them spend over $1 million in a district that should have been a yawn and vote,” said Hoyer.

Jessica Taylor – NY-26 Live Blog: Ready For Court National Journal 24 May 11

This will be interesting.


  1. Shaun Appleby

    Spin doctoring from faltering Republican candidate Jane Corwin:

    “I probably would have addressed the Medicare message coming out of my opponent quicker,” Ms. Corwin said before a small group of elderly New Yorkers and dozens of local and national journalists in Amherst. “I have to admit, when she started making these comments I thought, ‘This is so outrageous no one would ever believe it.’ Apparently some people did.”

    Raymond Hernandez and Michael D Regan – Republican Candidate in House Race Acknowledges Missteps NYT 24 May 11

    Apparently they know more about it than you do, Jane.

  2. Shaun Appleby

    Seems good for Hochul:

    5:34PM: Erie County turnout has already been strong in the Democratic-leaning area – even before the heavy post-work voting hours began.

    Election officials said at 4:30 p.m. turnout was estimated to be between 18 and 20 percent. The district’s largest county, it’s a must-win area for Hochul and a place where she needs to build up a lead to offset Corwin’s advantage in the GOP-leaning areas of the district.

    Jessica Taylor – NY-26 Live Blog: Ready For Court National Journal 24 May 11

    Fingers crossed; hopefully this will be a replay of the NY-23 rumble in 2009.

  3. HappyinVT

    Well, I’ll still be plugging away at work so…might as well have something interesting to look forward to.

  4. Shaun Appleby

    Corwin (R) 32%


    Davis (Tea) 12%


    Hochul (D) 55%


    Murphy (G) 1%

    Early yet but nice to see.

  5. HappyinVT

    The Vermont Workers’ Center invites you to tune into this special presentation on Vermont’s new universal health care law, to be signed by Governor Shumlin on May 26 at 10am.  As a direct result of a highly energized and organized grassroots people’s movement for the human right to healthcare, Vermont has become the first state in the country to pass a bill for a universal, publicly financed healthcare system that commits to providing healthcare as a public good.

    video of the event will be here.

  6. HappyinVT

    PHOENIX (AP) – Three employees of an Arizona sheriff known for his department’s immigration sweeps and tough stance on crime have been arrested in a drug and human smuggling case.

    Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Tuesday that one deputy and two detention officers were among 12 people taken into custody after the breakup of a drug smuggling ring. He says seven other sheriff’s employees are being investigated.…  

    Seems the “good” sheriff might need to pay closer attention in his own backyard.

  7. Shaun Appleby

    Let the spin begin.  Eat humble pie, Ryan, you’ve got an albatross to wear around your neck now.  And she’ll be sitting there in the House to remind you how easy it is to run against your foolishness.

  8. fogiv

    the greasy hand at the business end of the GREAT REPUBLICAN OVERREACH OF 2011 has just been bitten. Hard.

    Who’s hungry?

  9. HappyinVT

    “There are two reasons we won tonight. Kathy Hochul is a great candidate and a Western New Yorker through and through,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement after his party won in New York’s 26th district special election. “And New Yorkers of all political persuasions do not want to destroy Medicare. This election was a strong referendum on both.”

    via TPM

  10. HappyinVT

    DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) gave him a shout out in her statement on the NY-26 win. “Tonight’s result has far-reaching consequences beyond New York,” she said. “It demonstrates that Republicans and Independent voters, along with Democrats, will reject extreme policies like ending Medicare that even Newt Gingrich called radical.”

     via TPM

    Loooooooooove her!

  11. Shaun Appleby

    The obligatory victory lap begins:

    Republicans are going to have plenty of questions about their plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program tomorrow morning after Democrats romped to an improbable victory in a special election focused almost entirely on the issue.

    Democrat Kathy Hochul lead 48-43 with over 83% of the votes counted and her victory looks to be a strong one — the Associated Press called the race within an hour of the polls closing. Corwin underperformed in key GOP counties while Hochul’s margins in Democratic areas were in line with the party’s high water mark in the district from 2006, a wave year that swept the Republicans out of the majority in the House and Senate. The district is normally a safe seat for Republicans and has never elected a Democrat.

    Benjy Sarlin – Democrat Kathy Hochul Wins Upset In NY-26, Medicare Vote Key To Victory TPM 24 May 11

    Guess Americans want to keep Medicare after all, eh?

  12. HappyinVT

    BethanyAnne – May 24, 2011 | 11:12 pm ยท Link

    From Twitter: Dem. slogan for 2012 – a noun, a verb, and Medicare.

  13. Shaun Appleby

    WIll be a very outspoken advocate without having to look over her shoulder:

    AMHERST, N.Y – Democrat Kathy Hochul used her victory speech to reiterate the commitment she made through the special election campaign to fight changes to Medicare.

    “We had the issues on our side,” she told more than 200 supporters gathered at a UAW union hall in a Buffalo suburb. “Did we not have the right issues on our side?”

    The crowd chanted “Medicare” over and over.

    In a 14-minute speech, Hochul drove home the centerpiece of her campaign: protecting entitlements.

    “We can balance the budget the right way and not on the backs of our seniors,” she said.

    She received loud cheers as she called for closing corporate loopholes that send jobs overseas, “ending government handouts to Big Oil,” and “making millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share.”

    “We can do all that and not decimate Medicare,” she said.

    David Catanese – Hochul: ‘Taking care of business’ Politico 24 May 11

    If Republicans can’t read the handwriting on the wall they’re just illiterate.  Next move?  Let’s watch the Senate vote on “Ryan’s curse” on Thursday and see if upper-house Republicans throw their House colleagues under the bus in significant numbers.

  14. Medicare has joined SS as the third rail in U.S. politics.

    I’ve been thinking about a solution for the Medicare financing problem. Why not take away the payroll cap up to $1,000,000 and then double the amount for anything over that? If this is too extreme to get passed then I have another possible solution. The tax rate for Medicare is currently 2.9%. This is split between employer and employee. We could raise this to 3.9%, which would be a lousy 1/2 of 1% increase for each party. That small increase would mean a 33% increase in revenue and would solve any funding issues for a long time to come. Couple that with an increase in the cap above $106,000 and the problem is solved. Why is this such a big deal?

  15. spacemanspiff

    Federal authorities have been investigating whether Edwards illegally spent campaign contributions to hide his affair with one-time campaign videographer Rielle Hunter, and whether more than $1 million provided by wealthy supporters to keep Hunter out of sight amounted to illegal campaign contributions.

    This just gets sadder and sadder. I feel for his children.  

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