It's Election Day today, in the special election for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's former House seat in upstate New York. Democratic candidate Scott Murphy may be the slight favorite -- a recent Siena poll gave him a four-point lead -- in a campaign that many outside observers originally thought could be a likely pick-up for the GOP. No matter which way it turns out -- we'll find out after the polls close at 9 p.m. ET -- expect it to be close.
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Republican candidate Jim Tedisco, the state House minority leader, began this race two months ago with high name recognition, while Murphy was an unknown businessman making his first bid for office -- indeed, a Siena poll from a month ago put Tedisco ahead by 12 points. Both national parties have been actively involved with the race, with the NRCC spending over $800,000 and the DCCC putting in about $590,000 -- plus $820,000 from the National Republican Trust PAC for Tedisco, and $245,000 on Murphy's behalf from the SEIU Local 1199. Murphy himself has out-raised Tedisco's campaign, and in all the money spent is about even on each side, totaling roughly $5 million.
Among Democrats, the mood is generally one of cautious optimism, while Republicans are uncertain -- and of course, both sides are staying focused on their ground game. The bottom line here is that it's impossible to fully predict turnout in a special election -- it must be earned, vote by vote.