While no one is saying a GOP win is impossible, I have yet to encounter a Republican closely watching the NY-20 special election who’s willing to stake their reputation on a Jim Tedisco victory tonight.
A Scott Murphy win will be touted by Democrats as a sign that some once-red suburban districts are now solidly blue, that the Obama endorsement is worth its weight in gold, that Blue Dogs ought to get on board with the president’s agenda, etc.
If Murphy wins, Democrats will have much reason to celebrate, but we shouldn’t forget that the contest wasn’t just a strict referenda on Obama. Tedisco is a longtime state legislator at a moment when Albany is loathed by most of the state. He actually doesn’t live in the district, listing his official residence outside the district lines. He took too long to explain his position on the stimulus, then put all of his chips on the AIG bonus provision in the stimulus. Yes, Murphy had put himself in the situation of saying he would have supported a bill that included the provision, and refused to say whether he had read the bill. But Tedisco’s criticism may have seemed like carping, particularly in a race where spending by both sides in this race was astronomical. Residents felt deluged by ads and may be more sensitive to negative ads than usual.
Tedisco was a relentless campaigner, going all through the night last night. But today his campaign sent text messages to registered Democrats in the wrong district.
UPDATE: Okay, Ruffini is predicting a 3 point Tedisco win.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Dan Riehl notices that the woman who complains she received an errant text message is a committed Obama supporter… I suppose anyone could sign up for messages, and then once they arrive, call a reporter and say, “Can you believe these incompetent, disorganized you-know-whats called/e-mailed/text-messaged me?” By that standard, the Obama people contact me all the time.