Too many people keep pointing to the Democrats’ Congressional win in the New York 26 special election in the western part of the state as proof that when political ads show granny going over the cliff as a result of Paul Ryan’s budget plan, Republicans will lose. However, the claim is terribly flawed.
First, special elections are unique and the usual election rules do not apply in terms of which candidate eventually goes to the general and how many days the election itself lasts. Following the embarrassing resignation of Rep. Chris Lee, a Republican, Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, in March of 2011, called for a special election to fill the vacant seat. Under New York law, the seat had to be filled 30 to 40 days following Cuomo’s announcement.
The race was so obscure, some people who followed politics closely did not realize that other than the Republican, New York State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin and then Democratic candidate Kathy Hochul, a third party candidate by the name of Jack Davis made all the difference in the outcome of the election. Davis was a wealthy self-financed and faux tea party candidate, who was later revealed to be a liberal Democratic plant.
Here are the final poll numbers:
Hochul (D)- 52,713 Corwin (R) - 44, 811 Davis (fake tea party dem) - 10,029
Over 111,000 people in New York’s 26th District voted in May of 2011. The turnout was relatively low, in fact.
I pointed out in my May 2011 piece:
A new Siena poll shows Democrat Kathy Hochul leading Republican Jane Corwin by four points in New York’s 26th district special election . Siena polling previously showed Ms.Corwin with a five point lead last month. Self-professed “tea party” candidate Jack Davis is believed to be eating into Ms. Corwin’s support. Since Mr. Davis’ arrival in to the race, the special election has usually been viewed as neck and neck between Hochul and Corwin.
Tea Party Express communications director told National Review’s Deroy Murdock at the time, ‘Jack Davis is a total fake,” says Levi Russell, communications director of Tea Party Express. “He is a liberal Democrat who endorsed President Obama, supports cap-and-trade, and has given thousands of dollars to big-government liberals. Jack Davis is no more ‘Tea Party’ than Barack Obama is!”
YNN’s CapitaltonightNY reported in the Spring of 2011: (bolding is mine)
Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul is in NYC today for some meet-and-greet events and fundraising with downstate Democrats as the clock ticks down to the NY-26 special election on May 24.
Rep. Caroyln Maloney is hosting a $250-a-head event for the Democratic congressional hopeful at her Upper East Side home tonight. Former Rep./NYC Comptroller Liz Holtzman is scheduled to attend, as are Jill Lafer, Sarah Kovner and Gloria Steinem.
Prior to the fundraiser, Hochul is scheduled to discuss the race with members of the DL21C at the Copia Bar/Lounge. The DL21C Website sums up the NY-26 contest thusly:
The Special Congressional Election is for the open seat created by the resignation of Republican Christopher Lee (the Craig’s List Congressman), and will be held in May. Kathy is a progressive, pro-choice candidate. She is running in a 3-way race against a self-funding Tea Party candidate who will likely split votes with her Republican opponent.
Interestingly, Hochul hasn’t been stressing her progressive, pro-choice positions very much – particularly not in her TV ads, which don’t even mention her political affiliation. That makes sense, considering the GOP enrollment edge in the district.
But the message is different in Democrat-dominated NYC, where the WFP’s Bill Lipton sent an email last night to leaders in the labor-backed party, urging them to attend the DL21C event “at the request of important allies.”
Davis is also a big Democratic donor who previously ran three times as a Democrat for the seat that Corwin and Hochul were competing for. In fact, he was also the nominee for the New York’s union line – The Working Families party. When a cameraman from Corwin’s campaign approached Davis and confronted him about being a plant, Davis took a swing at the guy.
Corwin was not just dealing with some quiet placeholder. Davis had the resources to run attack ads against Corwin as much as Hochul did. However, Davis never attacked Hochul. Essentially, Corwin was running against two Democrats, but only one of them was the spoiler for Corwin, the Republican. However, Davis never wanted to own up to his attacks or talk about why he was running. He avoided political debates with Corwin and Hochul and refused to talk to media he knew would ask him about the shadiness of his campaign
Corwin supported Paul Ryan’s budget plan, but that was not the reason why she lost, and if that is what Democrats believe, then how many more Jack Davis’ can they conjure up for themselves in 2012?