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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/1/09

Republicans Cross Party Lines to Vote for Democrat Scott Murphy

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In a special election race in rural upstate New York on Tuesday, that many political pundits are considering a referendum on President Barack Obama and his policies, Democrat Scott Murphy maintained a 65 vote lead over Republican Jim Tedisco. The 20th congressional district of upstate New York has been solidly Republican for over 30 years and wasn’t controlled by a Democrat until 2006 when 44-year-old Kirsten Gillibrand, a pro-gun Democrat won a shocking upset over four-term Republican incumbent, John Sweeney.

This seat was vacated by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand in January after she was promoted to the U.S. Senate by New York Governor David Paterson, to replace former Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton.

The fact that Democrat Scott Murphy even has a slight lead in a district where Republican voters outnumber Democrats by 70,000 is a testament to the continued high popularity of President Obama. As of yesterday’s vote tally the Democratic candidate Scott Murphy, a businessman and venture capitalist, had 77,344 votes to 77,279 votes for Republican Tedisco.

Last week President Obama took time away from dealing with the national economic crisis to endorse Scott Murphy and sent an e-mail to 60,000 Obama supporters in the 20th district encouraging them to get out and vote for Murphy during this special election. Many of these supporters were on both sides of the political aisle and it appears that Obama’s endorsement may have been enough to push Scott Murphy over the top, despite a huge disadvantage in the number of registered Republican voters over that of the registered Democratic voters in the district.

For their part the National Republican Congressional Committee also worked hard to regain this seat. The NRCC along with outside groups and political action committees spent a total of 1.7 million on behalf of Jim Tedisco in an effort to win back a Republican seat in a heavily Republican district.

Because of the closeness of the race and because about 10,000 absentees votes are yet to be counted the final outcome will not be know for another couple of weeks when the absentee ballots are opened and counted on April 13th. Even before polls closed yesterday, a New York judge ordered the absentee ballots impounded in response to a lawsuit filed by the state Republican Party. It is expected that the Republican lawsuit will tie up the final outcome of the race in the courts for months.
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Eric Nelson is freelance writer, an editor at OpEdNews, and a spiritual progressive from Minnesota who has become more politically active. The reasons for this should be obvious to most; rising poverty, a broken health care system, and a growing (more...)
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