Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Today is the day for NY-26: Voters head to the polls in special election

Yes, it's today, at long last, the special election in New York's 26th Congressional District to replace Republican Chris Lee, who resigned earlier this year.

I wrote about the election here and here, but let me explain again what's going on here:

In a heavily Republican district in Western New York, the combination of a Tea Party challenger (Jack Davis) and a Republican who supported Paul Ryan's deeply unpopular anti-Medicare plan (Jane Corwin) have given the Democrat (Kathy Hochul) a great chance to win. Indeed, the latest polling gives Hochul a six-point lead over Corwin, 42 to 35, with Davis in third with 13.

It seems incredible, when you think about it, until you realize that this special election has essentially become a referendum of national proportions and a key indicator for where things might be headed in 2012. It's not all about Ryan and the Republicans' radical right-wing budget plans, as I've written, but there's enough of that to suggest that the Republicans may be in trouble, with voters coming to learn of those plans and turning away in disgust, particularly independents.

Sure, Corwin might very well win a head-to-head race against Hochul, but it would be close (as it is wrong to assume that she would pick up all of Davis's support), and, again, this is a heavily Republican district, a "safe" seat that should stay GOP. It would be enough, in a way, just for Hochul, or any Democrat, to put in a good showing, to make it a competitive race. The fact that she's well ahead in the polls is incredibly significant, both in local and national terms, the local and national essentially merging here.

And the fact that she might just win...

Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. If you're in NY-26, make sure you get out to vote.

Let's hope Hochul, who certainly has our full support, pulls this out. It would be a great victory for her, as well as for the Democratic Party and for efforts to reject the right-wing Republican agenda.

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