Fortitudine et Prudentia

The Medicare Albatross

In News and Opinion on May 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm

The 26th District in Upstate NY is not Democrat country.  

In the past 160 years the self-reliant people of The Snow Belt have sent a Democrat to Congress a mere three times.  To say this district is Republican through and through is an understatement, there isn’t many more reliably Republican Districts in America.  Today is the end of a long campaign to fill the vacant seat left by Republican Congressman Chris Lee who resigned among controversey. 

Assemblywoman Jane Corwin is the heir apparent to the Republican Dynasty Upstate but she is having a rough go of it.  Mrs. Corwin’s opponent is supposed to be Democrat County Clerk Kathy Hocul and Tea Party annoyance Jack Davis but her real opponent is the Medicare overhaul that the Republican led House of Representatives passed this year.  The Pathway to Prosperity hangs around her neck like a slain Albatross and it’s dragging her down.

The last Sienna poll gave the Democrat a 4 point lead in a district House Democrats didn’t think they would be competitive in until recently.  New York Democrats seized on Corwin’s endorsement of the Medicare overhaul and haven’t relented.  Evey meet and greet with Hocul, every media ad, every mailer has had one theme; Medicare, Medicare, Medicare and its working.   See the ad below.


The race has Republicans scared and Democrats energized.  Because of the national implications for the upcoming 2012 elections the worry is this is a referendum on the Ryan Plan and the money is flowing in as well as the endorsements.  This has become quite an expensive race, generating over $2 million dollars of activity. The National Parties have both pumped in over $250,000 each.  Karl Rove’s PAC, American Crossroads, has dumped upwards of $600,000 into the race and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has shown up personally to fundraise for the Democrat.  There isn’t any ad time left on TV or Radio to buy.   Endorsements have come in from Governor Cuomo and Paul Ryan for each respectively,  the voters are over saturated with robocalls from Bill Clinton for Hocul and Chris Christie for Corwin.  All the Big Guns are out.  This is a no holds barred/all hands on deck election.

With all the money pushed into this election and all the high-profile political players involved it’s obvious the stakes are as high as they were in the special election that brought the Republican Scott Brown to the Senate from liberal Massachusettes.  Unless Corwin can buck the polls and take upwards of 55% of the vote in a district that is 93% white and with a median income of $43,000 a year this race will be a bad omen for GOP prospects in 2012.


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