Democrat Scott Murphy has pulled slightly ahead in the race to replace Kirsten Gillibrand in NY-20, according to the latest poll. Moreover, after weeks of staying out of what was thought to be an unwinnable race (the district is heavily Republican and the Republican candidate, Jim Tedisco, is a local legend), the party — specifically Obama and the DNC — is getting behind Murphy.
I know a lot of people in NYS politics and virtually none of them thought Murphy had a shot to make this close when I spoke with them a few weeks ago. They attribute the closeness of the race to Tedisco having run an awful campaign (hedging on the stimulus for weeks, getting in a dust-up with Rush, performing poorly in debates, etc.). What’s interesting is that they also tell me that in a special election like this one, the best operatives in each party will get involved (because there’s no other campaigns for them to be running at the time). So why has Tedisco’s campaign gone so badly? My guess is that almost any race that gets framed as Rush Limbaugh and Eric Cantor versus Barack Obama will go badly for Republicans.
In my view, the Republican party is insane to present a unified front against Obama. Cut the ones in competitive district loose to vote how they want to win races. That really seems like a no-brainer to me.