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For only the fourth time since the 1800’s, New York State district 26 elected a Democrat to Congress. Kathy Hochul pulled out the surprising upset on Tuesday’s special election in the district that encompasses parts of New York State between Buffalo and Rochester.
The Erie County Clerk was able to steal the seat from Republican state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin in a nationally watched campaign. Many suggested that this election was a barometer for 2012 and the likely backlash that Republicans face. For the landslide victories that Republicans had just six months ago, the Hochul victory is just as momentous.
The biggest dividing factor in this election, according to polling, was the controversial Paul Ryan Medicare plan. Corwin has suggested she would support the plan which would end Medicare and instead replace it with a voucher system. Hochul pointed out that Corwin would dissolve Medicare every chance she got. Clearly this was an effective strategy as the nation’s seniors are uncomfortable with Medicare being altered. Corwin also ran a negative campaign which hurt her favorability rating and made Hochul appear more favorable to likely voters.
The shocking win did not deter the beltway media though. The headlines today spun the win into a cautionary tale, warning voters and Democrats that something still needs to be done about Medicare. Really? How about doing something about the exorbitant costs of health care in the United States? Or not give huge asinine tax cuts to the wealthy? Oh, no, we have to attack Medicare, something every worker has paid into since freaking high school. Give me a break.
The special election was held after former congressman from the district Chris Lee resigned. Married Lee responded to an ad on Craig’s List in February and sent a picture of himself shirtless to a woman. In a matter of minutes, the picture ended up on Gawker and Lee resigned mere seconds later.
During Hochul’s victory speech in Buffalo on Tuesday night, she talked about the importance of Medicare again.
“And we can balance our budget the right way— not on the backs of our seniors—- but by closing corporate loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas, and ending subsidies to Big Oil and yes, by making the multi-millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share. And we can ensure we do not decimate Medicare. We will keep the promises made to our seniors who have spent their lives paying into Medicare, so they can count on health care when they need it most.”