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April 27, 2009

What Went Wrong In NY-20?

Slublog sends along this WSJ editorial that sums up nicely what I was going to say.

New York's 20th Congressional district is precisely the kind the GOP will have to win if it wants to regain a majority. It is one of the few Northeast districts where Republicans retain a party registration advantage, and Republican John Sweeney had held it for four terms before Democrat (and recently appointed Senator) Kirsten Gillibrand won in 2006. George W. Bush carried it twice.

...At one point, Mr. Tedisco had a 20-point lead but squandered it by waffling on the Obama stimulus plan, running anti-Wall Street ads that confused the Republican base, and waiting until the last few days to criticize pro-union "card check" legislation. In other words, Mr. Tedisco betrayed that he wasn't all that different than the other politicians who have made Albany the tax and spend center of America..

Former Assemblyman John Faso wanted the nomination and he was my choice to run for the seat. Naturally, he was less than complimentary about Tedisco and his campaign.

"Attacking Scott Murphy for being a private-sector businessman was not a logical approach," said John Faso of Kinderhook, a former Republican assemblyman who has run for comptroller and governor. He also expressed early interest in being his party's candidate in the House special election.

"Not taking a position on the (federal) stimulus was incomprehensible," Faso said of the issue that seemed to hang Tedisco up for more than half of the race's two-month span. "The bill is bad policy for the country. The economy needed a stimulus, but what came out of Congress much of the spending will not benefit the economy, and it's all going to be paid for by our children and grandchildren."

Opposing the federal bill was the right position, Faso said, and it was one a Republican should have taken early and vocally.

"You can't learn what your philosophy is from a poll," said Faso, who is a lawyer and a lobbyist.

Republicans, led by Saratoga County chairman "Jasper" Nolan, nominated a good old, go along, get along pol and got their ass kicked.

You can say that the district had leaned Democrat for two cycles but so what? Gillibrand won it in '06 because the incumbent, John Sweeny, was caught up in a domestic violence incident. She won again in '08 for a number of reasons including the overwhelming advantages of incumbency and the fact she ran against another party hack (Sandy Tredwell) who ran essentially the same campaign Tedisco did.

Republicans do better when they nominate candidates who articulate their core beliefs well. Faso would have done that and Tedisco didn't.

If Republicans want to get back into the majority in Congress they are going to have to win back seats in the NE they have been losing lately. NY, CT, NJ may not send the most conservatives Republicans to D.C. but you need to build up the numbers somewhere.

This was a winnable seat for a reasonably conservative candidate and the Republicans muffed it by nominating a hack.

Well played!


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posted by DrewM. at 01:18 PM

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