Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Democrats Can Win In Republican Strongholds

A special election to fill a vacant U.S. House seat in the heavily Republican Upstate New York 20th Congressional District demonstrates that Democrats can win in heavily Republican areas, even Collin County, Texas, with a focused campaign and coordinated help from the Democratic Party.

With all precincts reporting from Tuesday's special election voting, Democrat Scott Murphy, a venture capitalist, had 77,344 votes and Jim Tedisco, the Republican leader in NY's State Assembly, had 77,285. The Democrat leads by 65 25 vote in the Congressional District that has approximately 400,000 total registered voters and 70,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats, and where former President George W. Bush carried the district twice.

Election officials and outside observers said that about 5,900 absentee ballots had been received as of Monday. But about 10,000 absentee ballots were mailed, and those still out have another week to return -- 13 days for ballots from overseas and from members of the military -- as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday.

Tedisco and Murphy were vying to replace Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand in the House; Gillibrand was appointed to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Clinton in January when she became Secretary of State.

Murphy ran an campaign focused on his record as a successful businessman and his strong support for President Obama's economic recovery programs. Tedisco, the Republican, ran on his opposition to President Obama's economic recovery programs and the Republican platform of tax cuts and deregulation. Murphy also had strong active support from both the local and national Democratic Party organizations. Murphy's website, that his campaign kept active and current with issues, news and videos, no doubt, also gave him an advantage. Tedisco's campaign website was more a old "billboard" type of site, other than a campaign Twitter feed on his main page.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele had made recapturing this traditionally GOP seat a priority. He heavily invested here and personally visited twice to campaign. Murphy's campaign success against a Republican candidate that started with a 20 point advantage, will like cause concern in the ranks of House Republicans, like Texas 3rd District Representative Sam Johnson and Texas 4rd District Representative Ralph Hall, who continue to vote as a block against President Obama's economic recovery programs. The Texas 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts meet in Collin County.

The 3rd Congressional District, shaded in yellow on the map includes the southwestern portion of Collin County and the Northeastern corner of Dallas County. The 4th Congressional District, shaded in pink on the map includes the remaining portions of Collin County and four counties of north east Texas.

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