Thursday, April 02, 2009

Congressional Democrats Lower 2010 Expectations Based on NY 20th Congressional District Special Election

The New York 20th Congressional Election this past Tuesday remains undecided in an election that was, like several across the nation in 2008, too close to call. In New York, Democrat Scott Murphy and Republican Jim Tedisco are separated by a mere 59 votes, with over 10,000 absentee and emergency ballots uncounted (6,000 of those Ballots having said to be impounded), and both parties are predicting a win. That said, in recent interviews, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, head of the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee, has begun to lower expectations for the 2010 races. In an AP article, Van Hollen warns extreme left groups against targeting Moderate Democrats. Van Hollen cites that several elections have been two close to call, and with a mere 76 seat advantage in Congress, the party can ill-afford to lose any seats to a Republican contender.

Historically, mid-term elections tend to shift the balance of power in Congress, with a lot riding on the performance of the party’s leader, in this case, the President Barack Obama. Should Obama’s economic policies do well, and the President’s overall approval ratings remain consistent, the party can expect to maintain or increase their seats in Congress, however, should the economy continue its downward spiral, (742,000 private sector jobs were lost this March, for example) those fortunes can be easily reversed. Currently both History and President Obama appear to be on the side of the Republican Party.
Van Hollen understands, both the import of history and the danger of “riding the coattails” of a President with less than stellar approval ratings, especially in districts that have a heavy concentration of conservatives and/or independent (unenrolled) voters who are not ideologically driven to vote by party.

Will groups that play influential roles in the Democrat Party such as; temper their quest to fill the House with like minded legislatures, despite the appeals of Van Hollen? That is unlikely. Massachusetts should be viewed by both parties as a testing ground for this administration’s (and the Democrat Party) economic policies. One need only look at the recent polls virtually condemning Massachusetts Governor Duval Patrick, to understand that raising taxes and unlimited spending do not sit well with constituents and, according to this particular poll, it crosses all Party lines, in a state that has long been known as “The Bluest State”.

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