Posted by Brad @ 10:33 am on March 30th 2009

NY-20: The Libertarian Endorses the Democrat

I meant to post this a few days ago, but it got stuck in my aggregator.

The Libertarian candidate in the Tedisco-Murphy race has been successfully challenged off the ballot. On Wednesday, he got kicked out of the race due to signature challenges. He is quite convinced that this was a concerted effort by Tedisco supporters to squeeze him out (and nobody really denies that), and so, the day after he exited the race, he decided to endorse Murphy.

Mr. Tedisco denies any involvement with the concerted effort by his supporters to knock me off the ballot. I donít believe him. The ruthless effort by his supporters to knock me off the ballot without a word of protest by him proves his unfitness for any office let alone Congress in these critical times.

I will be voting for Scott Murphy on Tuesday. While we disagree on some important issues, I find him to be a man of honor, a good family man and successful businessman. Unlike Tedisco, he actually lives in the District. And, unlike Mr. Tedisco, I view Scottís business success as a virtue, not a vice.

I urge my supporters and all those who believe in open and free elections to show their disgust at the tactics of the Republican political machine to win at all costs. Please join me in voting for Scott Murphy on Tuesday.

The only public poll of the race shows Murphy up four, but two internal polls give Tedisco the slight lead. The DNC, which hadn’t been all that interested in making this a marquee race a month ago—it seemed like a pretty safe race in a basically Republican district, so there wasn’t much desire to pin the party’s brand to a likely clean loss—is now redoubling their efforts down the home stretch. Interestingly, the race has become all about this proxy battle between the two national party superstructures. Tedisco has put all his eggs into the basket of urging people to vote against Murphy because he was for the bailout. Murphy, for his part, has ceded the argument and then some, basically urging people to vote for him in large measure because he supports Obama, the bailout, and the Democratic agenda. The DNC is now running ads, Obama has issued a mailer endorsing Murphy, Biden has recorded a radio ad, and the net effect is what we’re getting is a pretty level playing field (a Democrat represents the district, but a very blue dog Democrat, and it’s a very right-leaning district) and a pretty clean race (i.e. there are no real gaffes or scandals involved, Michael Steele notwithstanding) wherein the germane voting issue is essentially Obama’s first 100 days, for or against. That was the Republican strategy more or less all along (or at least once Murphy became threatening enough to demand a strategy against), using the district as a referendum on Obama and, in winning that, proving that the Republican oppositional message has the people behind it. The Democrats, being Democrats, seemed to not want to directly engage, fearful that the Republicans would get their victory and their PR victory with it, but now, as Josh Marshall says, they’re going all in.

It’s my hunch that Murphy takes this seat tomorrow, but either way Republicans will have their first test case as to whether being anti-Obama and anti-bailout is indeed the popular mandate they’re presupposing. Or, to put that another way, whether the supposed populist sentiment against the bailout et al amounts to just soft waffling (i.e. people uncomfortable with it but still basically willing to give Obama et al the benefit of the doubt) or actual opposition. Expect a lot of swing Republican congressmen unsure of how far out on a limb they ought to go in opposition to Obama’s economic tinkering to be watching the results in New York carefully tomorrow.

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