Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A political earthquake in upstate NY: Voters want pols to end tax cuts for rich before messing with Medicare.

Democrat Wins G.O.P. Seat
May 24, 2011

Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative Congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on that party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.

Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser in the race against the Republican, Jane Corwin. But Ms. Hochul seized on the Republican’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up.
Voters, who turned out in strikingly large numbers for a special election, said they trusted Ms. Hochul, the county clerk of Erie County, to protect Medicare.
Pat Gillick, a Republican from East Amherst, who also cast a ballot for Ms. Hochul, said, “The privatization of Medicare scares me.”
The district, which stretches from Buffalo to Rochester, has been in Republican hands for four decades.
On Tuesday, Republicans were examining the results and debating how the party lost the seat, despite outspending the Democrats.
 “It’s a Republican district with a solid Republican candidate,” said Representative Peter T. King, a Republican from Long Island. “What went wrong? We definitely have to determine the extent to which the Medicare issue hurt us.”