New York special election in national spotlight
May 10th, 2011
03:28 PM ET
12 years ago

New York special election in national spotlight

Washington (CNN) - A hefty third party advertising buy is bringing renewed national attention to New York's 26th district as the race there becomes a referendum of sorts on the House GOP budget plan.

The May 24th special election pits Republican New York State Assembly member Jane Corwin against Democrat Kathleen Hochul and independent Tea Party candidate Jack Davis, a conservative former Democrat who may siphon votes from Corwin.

The seat was vacated amidst a high-profile scandal when Republican Rep. Chris Lee resigned in April after the website Gawker exposed correspondence the two-term married Congressman had with a woman via Craigslist. He allegedly sent a bare-chested photo of himself to the woman.

The conservative 527 organization, American Crossroads, will sponsor ads in support of Corwin in Buffalo and Rochester starting Wednesday. A week of spots will be paid for by the approximately $350,000 buy.

Crossroads communications director Jonathan Collegio said Davis and Hochul are perpetuating a "Democratic trick" because Davis may potentially take votes away from Corwin.

"This race has become artificially competitive because liberal Democrat Jack Davis is now trying to pass himself off as a conservative while the other liberal Democrat, Katie Hochul, is benefiting from his trick," Collegio said in a statement. "This ad buy seeks to expose the Democrat trick for what it is."

Republican voters greatly outnumber Democratic voters in the Western district that includes suburbs of Buffalo and Rochester. Then-Republican presidential nominee John McCain won the district by six points in 2008 and Lee won re-election by a three to one margin last November.

According to a Democratic source, the Democratic Congressional Committee has raised or spent roughly $100,000 for the campaign, considered by recent polling to be a competitive race. Although the fundraising arm has yet to decide on an ad buy, the source said the Medicare vote is hurting Republicans in the New York district.

"The fact that an overwhelmingly Republican district where the GOP having to defend a seat that should be theirs proves that their vote to end Medicare has a political cost," the source said.

Hochul has criticized the Medicare privatization plan in Rep. Paul Ryan's budget passed by the House Republican majority.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has released web ads highlighting Hochul's record and held fundraisers with House Speaker John Boehner, NRCC Chairman Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas and House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor.

But Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the number two House Democrat tried to tamp down expectations Tuesday, describing the area as "a heavily Republican district." He described the race as "very, very difficult," before adding that it is "possible" Democrats could pick up the seat.

"Should we win that election, as I think is possible, I think it would send a very clear, very loud message that the American public is looking at what's been done so far and does not believe it's reflective of what they want done," Hoyer said.

Filed under: DCCC • NRCC • Uncategorized
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. ConservaFASCISTS

    The democrats can steal this seat. NY-26 is typically a red district. But the poll numbers there are looking grim for republicans. The people there deserve a congressperson who isn't busy chasing tail on Craig's List.

    May 10, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    How is it possible that a district that has 30,000 more republican than democrats is in play? Oh, yeah, republicans are middle class, seniors, and working class Americans' worst enemies.

    May 10, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. a in austin

    More outside $$$ to sway and try to buy an election!

    May 10, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    I got it. I'll take can catch this fly ball for easy out. Put a "D" up on the board. I've got this one. There's an GM engine plant in this district if I am not mistaken, Tonawanda. I have not heard about it closing, so I assume that there are a lot workers and neighbors who are thankful that GM is solvent again. There's a consumer grade pharmacuetical plant across the street from it. Consumer grade means they make stuff that does not require a prescription. There are other manufacturing facilities along the river where jobs have been saved by administration policies.

    Steny, you need to do some homework. There's a lot more Democratic support in that there distict than what you think.

    May 10, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. PalmReader

    Karl Rove must be worrying over the NY23 Republican loss in 09 in this latest effort of his in sending his Crossroads folks back into NY to defend a District which has always been a heavily controlled Republican District as NY26 has always been.

    May 10, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  6. Donna Janovsky

    It is a shame that the GOPs and Karl Rove are trying to buy this seat due to Citizens United and the Supreme Court ruling on campaign donations. I hope that somewhere here, the voice of the people will outweigh the corporate donations.

    May 10, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    I live in the district. This is an area that has been trending Democratic for years, and there is also a lot of seniors who are scared to death about Ryan's plan. They also resent being told how to vote by 527 groups like American Crossroads, and are not thrilled with the quality of either Corwin or Davis. Corwin is viewed as the best that a very thin bench can produce, and Davis has run and lost 3 times for Congress: the only reason he ran as a Democrat before was that he could not buy the nomination for the GOP, and he is against free trade. He defines himself not by what he believes in but by what he is against. Hochul has a shot largely because she has a clean record in government and has streamlined services in Erie County, but also because Corwin has to backtrack off support of the Ryan plan, and Davis is seen as a crank. Back in the day we had Barber Conable, Frank Horton and Jack Kemp: now we have certifiable loons in the GOP, and not a shred of original thought in any of them.

    May 10, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Anything can happen in a 3 way race. Especially when you have the Democrats and their union thugs pulling all sorts of shady stuff. They have election tampering down to a science.

    May 10, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. Tulsa

    Once again, an astute observation by RudyNYC.
    GM is doing pretty well these days aren't they? 'Bout ready to hire another 4thousand people HERE, in the USofA.
    We, the American people hold about 25% of the stocks of GM and when that stock price is just a little better, we stand to actually make a profit from the "bailout".
    Beats the heck out of losing what most experts say would have approaced a million jobs counting all the suppliers and support network.
    Still no word on legislation about jobs, Four and the Door...... well?

    May 10, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  10. Tulsa

    Union thugs? you mean the union workers who took drastic cuts in pay and benefits to save their company? The ones who PAY TAXES?!?!?
    Those "THUGS"?

    May 10, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |