The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

01 April 2009

Results Too Close To Call In Symbolic Special Election


In NY Race, Absentee Ballots Will Determine Winner


Considered by many analysts to be a referendum on Obama's presidency, a special election to fill a vacant upstate New York congressional seat has proven too close to call.

Next, thousands of absentee ballots will be counted to determine whether Democrat Scott Murphy can hang on to his razor-thin 59-vote lead over Republican Jim Tedisco.

Because Murphy's campaign attempted to tie his GOP opponent to Rush Limbaugh, the race came to be seen as a proxy for a battle between Obama (represented by Murphy) and the talk titan (Tedisco). Democrats sent nasty anti-Limbaugh hit pieces to the homes of potential supporters, as Obama himself provided substantial long-distance help.

While Murphy openly embraced his association with Obama, Tedisco showed reluctance to be linked with El Rushbo and appeared indecisive on other issues, coinciding with a sharp drop in polls during the final days of the campaign.

For his part, Limbaugh was critical of the wishy-washy tone of Tedisco's late effort. Nonetheless, the two were linked together, whether they liked it or not.

At the same time, the most recent polls showed Murphy several points ahead, which if realized on election day, would have given him a comfortable margin, rather than a reasonably likely scenario where the absentee ballots eliminate his lead entirely.

The seat, known as New York's 20th Congressional District and taking in areas near the capital, was until recently occupied by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, who has since replaced Hillary Clinton in the US Senate.

But Rush made no attempt to campaign there, his association with Tedisco was concocted by Democrats, while Obama did personally fight to win the seat for Murphy.

That's why this outcome can only be considered a loss for Barack, as a more popular president would have coattails that could propel his candidate to a decisive victory. The strong possibility that Tedisco will win after absentees are counted will only compound the disappointment.

Meanwhile, for Limbaugh, the outcome is a victory, for the simple reason that he is a talk show host, not the president. He made no effort to win the race for Tedisco, yet featured prominently in the race, thanks to the misguided strategy of the party opposite.

Voters understand the difference between Obama and Limbaugh's respective positions, these results prove that opposition to the new regime is stronger than Democrats would like to believe.

In addition, building a campaign around bashing Rush isn't the motivation tool Democrats sought when cooking up this questionable strategy. If Murphy somehow prevails, it will be by a handful of votes, rather than a substantial number.

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  • Man dies in London protests on G20 summit eve

    One down many more to go.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 April, 2009 01:34  

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