Ryan-Plan Backlash Helps Democrat Win Special Election Victory in NY-26
Here's some good election news out of New York district 26, which held a special election after Republican congressman Chris Lee, aka the "Craigslist congressman" resigned due to a shirtless photo scandal. Democrat Kathy Hochul handily won a victory over Republican candidate Jane Corwin, despite the fact that this is one of the most Republican-leaning districts in the state--it even went to John McCain in 2008.
The reason for this win? Medicare, medicare, medicare. As TPM notes:
Hochul's message focused relentlessly on the Paul Ryan budget, which she highlighted in ads, public statements, and debates at every opportunity. Her attacks on its cuts to Medicare benefits and its tax cuts for the wealthy proved impossible for Corwin to overcome, who tried her best to defend the GOP budget cuts before eventually giving in and falsely accusing Hochul of seeking similar cuts while muddying her own position on the plan.
This is a strategy Democrats are declaring they'll use in every swing district in 2012, tying the Republicans inextricably to their vote in favor of a plant that would gut the popular health-care program for seniors. As Jennifer Steinhaure reports for the NEw York Times, the GOP is on the defensive thanks to their own agenda in congress.
But the last six weeks have left Republicans pointed into a stiff headwind. With polls and angry town hall meetings suggesting that many voters were wary if not opposed to the Medicare overhaul, party unity and optimism gave way to a slow-motion backtracking in the House and, in the Senate and on the presidential campaign trail, a bit of a Republican-on-Republican rumpus.
Even before the Republican loss Tuesday night in the race for a vacant House seat from New York — a contest fought in large part over the Medicare proposal — Democrats were clinging to the developments like koalas to eucalyptus trees, hoping that plan’s toxicity among many voters would give them a shot at retaining control of the Senate and, in their most vivid dreams, taking back the House majority.