New York’s 20th Congressional District Election Today

The polls opened this morning in New York State for the 20th congressional district special election. If you recall, this was the seat vacated by Kirsten Gillibrand who was appointed to replace Hillary Clinton in the US
Senate.

Polls close at 9pm eastern time.

Both candidates have been basically painting either President Obama or talk giant Rush Limbaugh as their respective opponent.

The Associated Press reports:

Polls open Tuesday in upstate New York for a Congressional special election putting President Barack Obama’s economic recovery policies to their first electoral test.

The candidates battling in the 20th Congressional District in the mostly rural north of the state are almost neck and neck, with Democrat Scott Murphy a fraction ahead of Republican Jim Tedisco, according to one poll.

The result will make no difference to the balance of power in the House of Representatives in Washington, where Democrats enjoy a big majority.

But the race is the focus of national attention as the first voter verdict on Obama’s attempts to pull the country out of financial crisis and recession.

“It’s the first early public referendum on the Obama presidency,” said Richard Himelfarb, politics professor at Hofstra University.

The most contentious debate in the contest has been over Obama’s stimulus plan.

Murphy, a businessman and political newcomer, secured Obama’s endorsement last week when he was named the man who can “turn the economy around and create jobs.”

He has also been praised by Vice President Joe Biden for supporting the White House economic agenda.

Obama on Monday signed an email message sent to supporters in and around the district.

“With Scott in Congress, we’ll work together to bring about solutions to our economic challenges and create new jobs in upstate New York and across the country,” Obama wrote.

“Scott understands the potential we have to rebuild our economy and create a new foundation for prosperity. That’s the kind of partner I need in Washington. Please look up your polling place and vote tomorrow.”

The Democratic National Committee has also released an advertisement featuring Obama’s image that trumpets his support for Murphy’s candidacy.

Tedisco, a veteran New York state politician, opposes the Obama administration’s economic strategy and has tried to turn Murphy’s backing for the stimulus package into a liability.

“It is seen as a very early and tentative barometer of Barack Obama’s popularity … Either as some kind of endorsement of Obama’s policies or the beginning of opposition,” Himelfarb told AFP.

The vacant seat was previously held by a Democrat, Kirsten Gillibrand, who now occupies the Senate seat left vacant by Hillary Clinton when she became secretary of state.

But the rugged district of forests and mountains was historically Republican territory and new party chairman Michael Steele has made winning back the seat a priority.

A win there, Republican strategists said, would demonstrate wider dissatisfaction with Obama’s efforts and spur the party to success in nationwide Congressional elections next year.

Obviously many people will be watching the results tonight closely to see whether the Democrat’s decision to essentially run against Rush Limbaugh will pay off.

Likewise, the Republican Tedisco was essentially running against Obama’s socialist plans and stimulus legislation.

Millions of dollars have been funneling into both sides as this is seen as a test of President Obama’s first few months in office.

Will update later after 9pm eastern time when the polls close.

Update

Results available here.

Will update once the race is declared.

Update

10:30pm eastern and no winner declare, too close to call. Recounts coming in days and weeks to follow.

Oh well, I tried to stay awake but nothing will be called tonight.

Update

This is where it stands not counting the thousands of absentee ballots. Murphy leads by 59 votes though this will trigger recounts and a long drawn out counting process:


District 20

Vote for 1

615 of 615 precincts reporting

100%

 

Scott Murphy (D/I/WF)

77,344

50%

 

Jim Tedisco (R/C)

77,285

50%

Source: Combined Reports

Source: WRGB

As you can see, there is a difference of 59 votes which means there will be recounts galore. Settle in for a drawn out counting process on this race. No winner can be declared at this time.