National Democrats are giddy over the results, crowing that they'll use the same formula in swing districts across the country in 2012.
"We served notice to the Republicans that we will fight them anywhere in America when it comes to defending and strengthening Medicare," DCCC chair Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) said in a statement. "Even in one of the most Republican districts, seniors and independent voters rejected the Republican plan to end Medicare."
Republicans sought to spin the race beforehand as an exceptional situation due to the appearance of Tea Party independent Jack Davis, who was ironically the Democratic candidate in 2006. NRCC chair Pete Sessions (R-TX) repeated the claim on Tuesday night in a statement to reporters and added that past special elections had failed to prove predictive of the general election results.
"Republican Jane Corwin ran a hard-fought campaign against two well-funded Democrats, including one masquerading under the Tea Party name," Sessions said. Obviously, each side would rather win a special election than lose, but to predict the future based on the results of this unusual race is naive and risky. History shows one important fact: the results of competitive special elections from Hawaii to New York are poor indicators of broader trends or future general election outcomes. If special elections were an early warning system, they sure failed to alert the Democrats of the political tsunami that flooded their ranks in 2010."
But Hochul appears to have won solidly even while Davis' support collapsed from his earlier polling numbers in the mid-twenties. With over 66% of the vote in, he took only 8% of the vote while Hochul's numbers were strong compared to past Democratic performances. Corwin and Republican-allied groups significantly outspent Democrats in the race, making her victory that much tougher.