Democrat Murphy Wins, GOPer Tedisco Concedes NY-20 Special Election

April 24, 2009 11:48 a.m.

The NY-20 special election is now officially over, with Democrat Scott Murphy the winner.

GOP candidate Jim Tedisco, who trailed by 401 votes as of yesterday’s vote count, has called Murphy to concede, according to Murphy spokesman Ryan Rudominer. (The latest vote count puts Murphy ahead by 399 votes.)

Murphy takes over in the seat from its previous Democratic occupant, Kirsten Gillibrand, whose appointment to the United States Senate set up the special election for this marginal district.

The election was on March 31, three and a half weeks ago, but it took this long to get a winner because it was so close and involved a lengthy process of counting and litigation of absentee ballots. Still not all of the ballots have been reported in, but it became very clear over the last few days that there was really no way Tedisco could have pulled it off.

Tedisco has released a statement, saying among other things:

“This was a close campaign every step of the way. Ultimately, it became clear that the numbers were not going our way and that the time had come to step aside and ensure that the next Congressman be seated as quickly as possible. In the interest of the citizens of the 20th Congressional district and our nation, I wish Scott the very best as he works with our new President and Congress to address the tremendous challenges facing our country.”

Speaker Pelosi’s office confirms to us that Murphy will be sworn in next week.Congressman-elect Scott Murphy (D-NY) has released a statement saying:

“First and foremost, I wish to thank the voters in this election for putting their faith and trust in me. I can’t wait to get to work on their behalf in Washington.

“I thank Assemblyman Jim Tedisco for his kind words today. It was an honor to compete with him in this hard-fought campaign. I look forward to working with him to move Upstate in the right direction.

“My thanks to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for her extraordinary leadership and support for my campaign. Living up to her example of honest representation and hard work is something I will aspire to do every day.

“I’d like to thank President Obama and Vice President Biden for supporting my campaign and for their inspiring leadership for our country. I can’t wait to start working with the President to deliver the urgently needed recovery funds to Upstate New York.

DCCC chairman Chris Van Hollen has released a statement boasting of the win:

“In trying to win the NY-20 special election, the RNC, NRCC, and their Republican allies went all in on the losing gamble that voters would prefer their ‘just say no’ approach to President Obama’s bold plans to get the economy back on track.

“Scott Murphy’s victory in this district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by more than 70,000 represents a rejection of the obstructionist agenda and scare tactics that have become the hallmark of House Republicans.

DNC Chairman Tim Kaine claimed a huge win for President Obama in his statement:

“Republicans decided to make this race a referendum on President Obama’s leadership of the economy and his jobs and economic recovery plan – and given the result we are thankful that they did. Scott Murphy embraced President Obama’s approach to the economy and his message of change while his opponent embraced the politics of division and the failed economic policies that got our country into the mess we find ourselves in today. While the Republican Party and its candidates appear to have learned nothing from recent elections and the nation’s obvious desire for change, I commend the voters in New York 20 for supporting Scott and giving the President another strong ally for change as the Obama Administration moves forward with its plans to reform healthcare, invest in clean energy and improve education.”

NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions’s statement acknowledges the defeat, and the tough road the GOP has ahead of it — but takes some consolation from the closeness of the result:

“After a long, hard-fought race, the final result of the New York special election reinforces what our party has known since November – we have our work cut out for us when it comes to winning in Democrat-held districts. In defeat, there will always be disappointment, but we should not ignore some of the encouraging signs that came out of this race.

“Just a few short months ago, President Obama carried this district and Kirsten Gillibrand won by an overwhelming margin against a well-funded challenger. For the first time in a long time, a Republican congressional candidate went toe-to-toe with a Democrat in a hard-fought battle over independent voters.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says:

“As Speaker of the House, I congratulate Congressman-elect Scott Murphy on his impressive victory in the race for New York’s 20th Congressional District. Scott’s victory is a clear indication that Democrats, Independents, and Republicans across the country want to continue moving America in a New Direction and reject the ‘just say no’ policies of Washington, D.C. Republicans.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), the prior occupant of this seat, said:

“This campaign was about who would work with President Obama to get the economy turned around and the voters have made the right choice.

“I was proud to give Scott Murphy my full support in his campaign for Congress. Having spent so much time campaigning alongside Scott these past several weeks, I know Scott will be the kind of hard-working and effective leader New Yorkers in the 20th District will be proud of.

“I know Scott and I will work closely with President Obama to create jobs, make health care more affordable, and invest in education. I will be proud to have him as a partner.”

President Obama has released this statement:

I want to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Congressman-elect Scott Murphy for his victory in New York’s 20th Congressional District. With this hard fought win, Scott has shown he is willing to fight the tough battles on behalf of the people in his district.

As a candidate, Scott courageously championed the economic plans we need to lift our nation and put it on a better path, and he will continue to do so in Congress. With his proven record of creating high paying jobs and standing up for Upstate New York, Scott will bring to the nation’s capitol the change New Yorkers need.

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