April 24th, 2009
05:15 PM ET
6 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. Ryan

    No Incumbents 2010, Kirsten Gillibrand is a Democrat, and won by an overwhelming margin against a well-funded challenger.

    April 24, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  2. Texas Annie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    Hoo-rah!!! Now if that idiot Norm Coleman inMN just had enough brains & class to do the same.....

    April 24, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  3. DeeDee

    Way to go NY!!!

    April 24, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  4. Kim in Arizona, FOR NOW

    we are sure that the republicans are finished because they are eating their own, not bringing in a single new voter, and have lost all the seats they have tried for...I mean thats good indication that they are DONE

    April 24, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. steven harnack

    well apparently the people aren't rebelling against the dems as the right wing propaganda machine would have you believe. every day the repubs continue to shoot holes in their own feet . i think that if they could the repubs would change the u.s. motto to"the end justifies the means!"

    April 24, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  6. Debbieqd

    @ No Incumbents 2010:

    You are really uninformed. That district has over 70,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats. It should have been a shoe-in for the Republican candidate. So, actually dude, the Dems won by a very wide margin.

    You're really full of wishful thinking. The honeymoon has just begun and yes, because the last 8 were so horrifying, we're going to ride the progressive wave for the next 20 years. Coming along for the ride?

    April 24, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  7. S.S., MD

    Congratulations, Scott Murphy, another Democrat in place. Frankin you're next.

    April 24, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. Brian

    Make that one more Republican loss in a sea of many! Next up: The official confirmation of Democratic Senator Al Franken!

    April 24, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  9. Jay

    It wasn't long ago that the democratic party was the little racist party of the south. The turn around is remarkable, republican tent seems to be shrinking even further.

    April 24, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. San Diego Liberal

    Great!!!! Chalk up another victory for us!!!!!

    April 24, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  11. Frank, Las Vegas

    Now if only Coleman would do the right thing for the people of MN. But he won't, it's Party First for loser Norn, he's a disgrace to MN, to the GOP and to America.

    April 24, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    @ No Incumbents 2010, who said "I believe you are banking on the last 8 years to see you through to infinity, and you fail to see that you barely squeaked one through less than 100 days after "

    Nope. We're banking on the GOP's obvious and continued denial of the crystal clear message sent to them on November 4, 2008. The GOP's response has been and continues to be to believe its disproven and rejected ideology harder, repeat it more often, shout it louder and to turn inwards, becoming more insular. Nothing could be more delicious for us "crazy libs" than watching the GOP dig it's hole.

    As for this one "squeaking through," this was a VERY conservative district by NY standards. I would caution fellow libs to be sparing in their gloating because that's just responsible...one battle does not the war make.

    April 24, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    @ Shayne in NH, who asked "Are you expecting overnight results? "

    No. He's probably someone who just 3 minutes ago said "you libs are crazy retards...he's not the 'messiah' and can't fix everything overnight." I.e., he's just vomitting forth whatever convenient talking point suits the article, despite the hypocrisy involved.

    April 24, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  14. annie for Palin

    It took nearly a month and acorn (acorn is a nut you know) to get yet another corrupt politician elected! Sad thing is his opponent probably wouldn't have been any better.

    April 24, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  15. joseph gestetner

    Hey libs: colman is taking the Gore road. So... Chill out!

    April 24, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  16. James

    Shayne in NH April 24th, 2009 5:42 pm ET

    Wrong any monkey could spend 1.5 trillion dollars and improve the economy short term. Lets see how long we are in debt becuase of this spending monster! We took out a third loan on our home and now we have money gee how smart!

    April 24, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  17. James

    Watch out you liberial swine we will be back soon!

    April 24, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  18. Marge

    You mean Tedisco didn't file lawsuit after lawsuit and demand they recount vote and spoiled vote. And then when the court certifies Franken the winner he takes it to the supreme court. Does he think if he takes it to federal supreme court the republican majority will appoint him the way they did bush.

    I am from Minnesota and I am sick to death of Coleman. He has sunk any prospects he ever had of running for any kind of an office in Minnesota. I think they are taking up a petition to ask him to leave.

    April 24, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  19. Pel

    This proves that UP State NY is not all Republican. Go Demos.

    April 24, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  20. tarheel4ever

    Hard to believe that a Democrat won an election in the North :-) All the Republicans can do right now is keep opposing the Far Left policies and hope that the damage will not be so great that this nation won't be able to recover from them. Ask any of your neighbors who are losing everything they have if spending money they couldn't afford helped out their financial situation.

    April 24, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  21. Danny

    LMAO! Michael Steele should def. resign.

    April 24, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  22. Squigman

    I can't imagine a republican being elected to any office. Even the dogs deserve better at the animal shelter.

    April 24, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  23. Cry Me A River GOP

    Willy,

    You really need to get over the ACORN thing... its soo last year!!!

    April 24, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  24. Larry

    Thank us all ...

    Now it's time COLEMAN see's the light ...

    Free up American politics ...

    April 24, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  25. Lindsey

    To those people who are saying hooray hooray one less republican in the house... The one representative that was there before was a Democrat. She was the same representative who replaced Hillary Clinton in the Senate... You just got a seat that was vacated back, essentially gaining nothing.

    As for me, i just want government to cut spending. Once this whole recession is over, there's going to be so many U.S. dollars in circulation, that there's going to be an influx of inflation. Inflation is never wanted in a system, but unfortunately our money system is inflationary by principle. Thank you Democratic President Woodrow Wilson for making the Federal Reserve, Thank you for making our money always owed to someone else at one time.

    April 24, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
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