April 24th, 2009
05:15 PM ET
5 years ago

Democrat wins NY House race

The race was too close to call following the March 31 election, but as absentee and overseas ballots poured in the past few weeks, Murphy's lead grew.
The race was too close to call following the March 31 election, but as absentee and overseas ballots poured in the past few weeks, Murphy's lead grew.

(CNN) – It took nearly a month, but Democrat Scott Murphy has won the battle for New York's 20th congressional district.

Republican James Tedisco conceded Friday and called Murphy by phone to offer congratulations.

"I look forward to rolling up my sleeves in Washington to bring jobs, opportunity and prosperity back to upstate New York," Murphy said in a statement.

The race was too close to call following the March 31 election. But as absentee and overseas ballots poured in the past few weeks, Murphy's lead grew.

The Missouri-born Murphy, 39, is a millionaire venture capitalist. Tedisco, 58, is a longtime New York state lawmaker and ranking Republican in the State Assembly.

The candidates were running to replace Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed to Hillary Clinton's former Senate seat by New York Gov. David Paterson. Clinton is now secretary of state in President Barack Obama's cabinet.

What normally would have been a local contest with little national interest partially evolved into an early referendum on Obama, his polices to jumpstart the economy, and the reputations of the Democratic and Republican parties, as both national parties and their congressional committees poured money and resources into the race.

The 20th is a moderate-to-conservative district that Republicans dominated for decades. Gillibrand first won election to the seat in 2006 and was re-elected last November.

The GOP enjoyed a wide edge in voter registration in the district, which includes portions of the Catskills, parts of the upper Hudson River valley, the Saratoga Springs area, Lake George and portions of the Adirondacks. George W. Bush won the district in the 2004 election but Obama narrowly took the district last November.

The Republicans have fared poorly in New York in the past two elections, losing six House seats in 2006 and 2008, leaving them with just three in the 29-seat delegation. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, on the job for just three months, made recapturing the seat a top priority and appeared twice with Tedisco.

But with the election so close, both parties hailed the results.

"Just a few short months ago, President Obama carried this district and Kirsten Gillibrand won by an overwhelming margin against a well-funded challenger," said Rep. Pete Sessions, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. "For the first time in a long time, a Republican congressional candidate went toe-to-toe with a Democrat in a hard-fought battle over independent voters."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Democratic win, in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats, is a vote of confidence for the president and his policies.

"Scott's victory is a clear indication that Democrats, Independents and Republicans across the country want to continue moving America in a new direction and reject the 'just say no' policies of Washington, D.C., Republicans," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Friday afternoon.

But while the Democrats praised their victory in the special election, analysts cautioned that the race would likely have little bearing on future races.

"There should be a healthy pause before over-analyzing the results from New York 20," said Nathan Gonzalez, political editor of the Rothenberg Political Report. "Historically, these early special elections aren't good predictors. I'm not convinced that this special election will be a good predictor of what happens in 2010."

–CNN's Lauren Kornreich contributed to this story


Filed under: Jim Tedisco • Scott Murphy
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Patty in the CA mountains

    Sweet....I wonder if Tedisco will be willing to call Coleman and advise him on how this works.....

    April 24, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. Integrity

    more lack of integrity in New York and more lack of integrity in government.

    April 24, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. Brian

    Here that Norm! That's how you do it.

    April 24, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. Mark

    Too bad! It's one mistake after another.

    April 24, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  5. Jane

    (CNN) — It took nearly a month, but Democrat Scott Murphy has won the
    battle for New York's 20th Congressional District.
    Republican James Tedisco conceded Friday and called Murphy by phone to
    offer congratulations.

    Norm....................see what the right thing to do looks like??

    April 24, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. Tulsa

    good. that means that a good number of Republicans voted for Murphy.
    more bad news for Republicans. lol.....keep on holding on to your old worn out ideas GOP.

    April 24, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Some Guy

    Integrity wrote: more lack of integrity in New York and more lack of integrity in government.

    How so? would you care to elaborate? Wow us with a well crafted, logical argument. You don't have one? I didn't think so. Have a nice day!

    April 24, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. TheThinker

    Thank goodness this didn't turn into a fiasco like the one in MN. Props to Tedisco for knowing when to throw in the towel. Props to Murphy for coming up from behind in the polls to winning a conservative district.

    April 24, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  9. Perusing-Through

    Congratulation Scott Murphy and the State of New York!!!

    May GOD Bless the United States of America!
    May GOD Bless the "Obama-Biden-Clinton-Gates-Geithner" Leadership Team!

    April 24, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. Sig, Los Angeles CA

    HA... you Repukes are toast!

    April 24, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  11. S Callahan

    lol...I have to say this...I just hope and pray what jobs we have left in NYS don't go overseas.....as well, in another month there will be over 9000 state workers laid off.......mostly upstate workers , though some in the city as well. Add on their family memebers and this can spiral New York State down fast involving housing, local buisness, contractors, etc. Are YOU ready for this Scott! This will be the real gage come 2010.

    April 24, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. Perusing-Through

    Relatively speaking Democrat Scott Murphy came from out of nowhere, in a predominantly Republican district and won. More proof that the American people have CHANGED directions and have turned the page on 8-years of Republican "Cheney-Rove-Limbaugh Nasty Slash & Burn" politics.

    April 24, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  13. KLK

    The people have spoken.

    April 24, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. Bob

    While the republicans will attempt to downplay this loss in NY's 20th Congressional District, the simple fact of the matter is: if they can't win in a District where they hold a 75,000 registered voter advantage, they are in serious trouble as a viable political force.

    April 24, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. jake

    the collapse of the Republican Party is reason to celebrate!

    April 24, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  16. Melissa

    Its just another sign that people are putting down the Republican mindset and moving to a new way of doing things.

    April 24, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  17. Karen - Missouri

    How funny. Before this election, the whiny Republicans touted how important this was to show they were on a "come back". Now that the Republican candidate lost, the Repubs keep saying this election means nothing. How funny and how typical of the Republicans. And yes, there are many even in Missouri ready to fight against Republican rule any more. They've been "nasty" and we're quite tired of that and apparently New York feels the same way.

    April 24, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  18. Enlightened Voter

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 24, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  19. John

    The devil laughs every time a poor or middle class voter pulls the lever for a Republican.

    April 24, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  20. Perusing-Through

    Next up, , , Norm Coleman to graciously end this thing and admit defeat.

    April 24, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. Donna from Colorado Springs

    New York down.......Minnesota to go! But, I realize that Norm Coleman is perfectly content to drag his race out as long as he possible can and embarrass himself and his state in the process. Republicans will do everything and anything they can do to keep a Democrat from winning that seat and giving them the upper hand in congress. How pathetic and ridiculous Norm Coleman is coming across to everyone!

    April 24, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. blaster

    Same old rhetoric...a politician is going to bring jobs and prosperity to his district. I thought Obama the Great already did that with his stimulus bill. And how's that working out? More lies, more empty promises. The people of NY deserve what they get.

    April 24, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. Perusing-Through

    If we keep our fingers cross, the Republican Party will go the same route as the 1860 Whig Party. And that is just perfect for the Libertarians:-)

    April 24, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. WIlly Brown

    More help for ACORN

    April 24, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  25. Perusing-Through

    Rove, Cheney, Hannity, Limbaugh, and Beck are just dying inside:-)

    April 24, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
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