(Nervous yet–Cory Gardner, Scott Tipton? Time to get nervous. – promoted by Colorado Pols)
POLS UPDATE #3: Politico rings up Cory Gardner–entirely by coincidence!
Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), whose district has a similar makeup as the upstate New York district won by Hochul [Pols emphasis], said the Republican message should be that the “Democrats’ plan is bankruptcy.”
“We were sent here on November 2 to do the right thing,” Gardner responded when asked if he was nervous about the House GOP Medicare plan. “To cut spending and get our economy back on track.”
“We actually have leadership we are trying to pursue, leadership for our country,” Gardner added. “[Democrats] are refusing and rejoicing and refusing.”
H/T: FOX 31’s Eli Stokols
POLS UPDATE #2: Full statement from DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz after the jump:
Just a few months ago, former Republican Congressman Lee won the 26th district with 74 percent of the vote – but since that time Republicans have voted to end Medicare and place a whole host of additional burdens on seniors, young people and working families while preserving tax breaks for millionaires, billionaires and big oil and they have been on the wrong side of public sentiment ever since.
Local readers, see below.
POLS UPDATE: On the “Ryan Plan” record, Reps. Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton:
Yup, folks. It was, now demonstrably, a bad choice.
In a race that has been considered a referendum on Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, Democrat Kathy Hochul has defeated Republican Jane Corwin in the special election for New York’s 26th congressional district. With 97% of precincts reporting, Hochul had claimed 47% of the vote. Jane Corwin gathered 43%, followed by Tea Party candidate Jack Davis with 9%.
New York’s 26th has been represented by a Democrat only three times since 1856. While reading too much into one special election would be a mistake, Hochul’s surprisingly firm victory in the race does have wide implications for elections in 2012.
The results of the Siena College poll, which predicted the race fairly well, revealed the impact of Rep. Ryan’s plan to radically alter Medicare on the special election. From a series of excellent posts by FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver:
In the Siena poll, voters were asked to identify their most important issue. Of the 21 percent who picked Medicare, some 80 percent said they planned to vote for Ms. Hochul (excluding undecided voters).
Nevertheless, of those voters who identified Medicare as their top issue, just 50 percent are Democrats, and an additional 24 percent are independents. Since Ms. Hochul is winning 80 percent of those votes instead, that implies that she is in fact picking up some support from independents and moderate Republicans (of which there are many in this district) on the issue.
This may have ramifications for Colorado’s Republican congressmen, all of whom support Rep. Ryan’s plan to largely privatize Medicare.
Suppose that Mr. Davis and Mr. Miller were not running, and that this were a true two-way race between Ms. Hochul and Ms. Corwin. If Ms. Corwin had won all of Mr. Davis’ vote (and Ms. Hochul won all of Mr. Miller’s vote), she would have won 51-49.
That would still qualify as a bad night for the Republicans, however. Based on the way that the district votes in presidential elections, (the district) is 6 percentage points more Republican than the country as a whole. That means, roughly speaking, that in a neutral political environment with average candidates, Ms. Corwin would have won 56 percent of the vote and Ms. Hochul 44 percent – a 12-point victory. A 2-point win instead, therefore, would have spoken to a relatively poor political environment for the Republicans.
So Republicans can’t really pin the blame for this result on Mr. Davis.
Priebus is right about one thing; the presence of Tea Party candidates in 2012 congressional races could be toxic for Republicans. While Davis’ votes likely would have been split between Hochul and Corwin, 8% of the vote is nothing to sneeze at. With the conservative base undeniably moving farther and farther to the right, the Republican party’s diminished capacity to field moderate candidates and prevent Tea Party candidates from running could have deliterious effects on upcoming elections.
Sen. Reid is planning to bring Rep. Ryan’s plan to a vote in the senate on Thursday, where it will meet its demise. Forcing senators to take a stance on the controversial plan could cause chaos, given Sen. Scott Brown’s public rebuke of the plan in Politico. Also, candidates for the Republican presidential nomination will inevitably be forced to take a position on the plan. Newt Gingrich’s comments on Meet the Press, in which he called the plan “right-wing social engineering”, drew the criticism of prominent conservatives and has been considered the beginning of the end of his candidacy. It will be interesting to see where the rest of the field comes down on the plan considering the results of the special election.
If you’re wondering why this special election even happened, take a moment to remember Rep. Chris Lee’s attempts to find that special someone over Craigslist.
DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz Says Democratic Victory in NY-26’s Special Congressional Election Shows Voters Want Medicare Protected, Not Abolished
Washington, DC – DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement after Congresswoman-Elect Kathy Hochul’s victory in the New York Special Election:
“I wholeheartedly congratulate Congresswoman-Elect Hochul and her grassroots supporters for their hard work and dedication despite being outspent by a 2-to-1 margin. Tonight’s election result is not just a victory for Congresswoman-Elect Kathy Hochul, it’s a victory for the residents of Western New York and for Americans who believe that our elected leaders should fight to protect Medicare and ensure that our government works for our seniors, working families and young people. Kathy’s Republican opponent, and those who spent a small fortune on her behalf in a solidly Republican district, found out the hard way that their extreme plans to abolish Medicare and slash Medicaid and investments in health care, education, innovation and job creation are wrongheaded and unpopular even in a district that should have been a cakewalk for the Republican candidate.
“Just a few months ago, former Republican Congressman Lee won the 26th district with 74 percent of the vote – but since that time Republicans have voted to end Medicare and place a whole host of additional burdens on seniors, young people and working families while preserving tax breaks for millionaires, billionaires and big oil and they have been on the wrong side of public sentiment ever since.
“Tonight’s result has far-reaching consequences beyond New York. It demonstrates that Republicans and Independent voters, along with Democrats, will reject extreme policies like ending Medicare that even Newt Gingrich called radical. With this election in the rear-view mirror, it is my hope that Republicans will accept the message being sent by voters in this race, in the polls and at town hall meetings across the country and work with Democrats to get our fiscal house in order while protecting Medicare and other initiatives vital to our economic recovery.”