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

Democrat wins NY House race

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/01/art.getty.vote.jpg caption="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. Chad

    Way to send another millionaire to Washington NY. When are people going to finally wake up and start sending people to represent them that are actually like them???

    April 24, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  2. Sandy


    April 24, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  3. Lori

    In the great words of that Simpson's character, 'Ha! Ha!'. I thought this was a referendum on the GOP but now they're singing a different tune. Spin Republicans! Spin! You lost, America sees your unfounded hatred for the President and we want nothing to do with you. Excellent job Murphy and NY-20 voters!

    April 24, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  4. SD,Michigan

    Coleman should take lessons from Tedisco, who gracefully accepted his defeat. Congrats Mr. Murphy!

    April 24, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  5. Larry from RI

    Let the wailing and gnashing of right wing teeth begin.

    Do you think Hannity's head will explode?
    Will Limbaugh blow a fat clogged artery?
    Maybe Beck will choke on his own bile?

    Any of these would be delightfully entertaining!

    April 24, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  6. Bill

    Tedisco should give Coleman a call and fill him in on how to concede defeat!

    April 24, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  7. Dino

    AWSOME!!!!! Now Norm Coleman in MN, take a page from Tedisco!!! On to dems victories in 2010!!!!!

    April 24, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  8. Retired Army in San Antonio

    Wait a minute!!!!!!!!

    Wasn't this the election that Republicans said would PROVE that Obama's popularity was falling?!?!?!?!?

    And in a mostly Republican district, too (LOL) !!!

    April 24, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  9. Obama 2012

    Michael Steele...what was all of that money used for that you guys raised?? Seems like you need to hire someone who knows something about strategy.

    April 24, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  10. jayjayaye

    The party of Lincoln can't be all bad, can it? Or, after Bush-Cheney and company, is it still the party of Lincoln?

    April 24, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  11. German,Irish American

    Chalk up another close election to the roving ACORN voters.

    April 24, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  12. ROC

    Let's all have a moment of silence for the party of no...


    April 24, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  13. Texas Teacher

    Okay, Cole, can you say "Concede Gracefully?" I hope I said that right? Al Franken has the majority no matter how small... it is STILL the Majority. Accept defeat gracefully. Take a lesson from one of your fellow Republicans!

    April 24, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  14. Thomas L.

    Right wing radio is killing the Republican party, guys like Hannity and Limbaugh are happy to keep playing to their base,they don't care about the rest of the people in the country. There is nobody right now they can put up against the President, oh wait, I have an idea, how about a Limbaugh/Hannity ticket, after all , since 69% of the voters and the President are always wrong, surely they can repair all the damage Mr. Bush left. They seem to know it all on every subject, the only thing Hannity agreed with the President on ,was to have a beer, but I think he's still thirsty. Will they give the President any credit for this win, because they were shooting him down, when it looked like the democratic candidate might lose.

    April 24, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  15. Upstate NYer

    We have spoken. No more GOP in our district or in our state.

    April 24, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  16. Jake

    I guess it took longer this time to figure out how to pass the money under the table hey Obama

    April 24, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  17. William Charlotte, NC

    Steele... Rush....Newt....Cheney....Boner....Palin...Hannity....Lew ... Beck...
    Don't look now, but as McCain's former campaign manager said today, your party "continues to shrink."
    It is time to listen to Meagan McCain and get some new leaders with actual ideas!

    April 24, 2009 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  18. mvp

    @No Incumbents 2010 April 24th, 2009 5:40 pm ET ......A win is a win ......get over it !!!!

    April 24, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
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