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Sans N.Y. Result, Parties Plot

Vogel argued the New York seat is more rural and exurban than many of the districts that his party picked up in the 2006 cycle, when Democrats took control of Congress. Nonetheless, President Barack Obama carried the district overwhelmingly in November.

But if that’s the case, Harrison said he looks forward to playing offense in the 2010 cycle.

“I’m glad the DCCC is ceding this as ground that this is going to be one of the toughest seats for them to hold because we have another 49 seats that [GOP Sen.] John McCain actually won that Democrats are holding, unlike this seat that Obama actually won with 58 to 42 percent,” Harrison said.

On Tuesday, Republicans were hoping for an outright victory for state Assemblyman Jim Tedisco because it would have been a symbol that the GOP had turned a corner and was on the rebound after losing seats in Congress for two consecutive cycles.

Likewise, Democrats were hoping that businessman Scott Murphy would pull off the upset and that it would have been seen as a positive referendum on Obama’s first couple months in office as well as the Democratic majority in Congress.

But instead of declaring a winner, both parties will have to wait weeks while the 20th district is recanvassed before they can point to a decisive loss or victory for their side.

At the Hotline panel, the top Senate campaign committee staffers also took the opportunity to lay out their top targets for 2010.

J.B. Poersch, the executive director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, called out Sen. Jim Bunning (Ky.) as his party’s primary target. Bunning has publicly feuded with Senate leaders about his re-election race and is widely viewed as the most vulnerable target next year.

In addition to Kentucky, Poersch also said GOP Sens. Arlen Specter (Pa.), Richard Burr (N.C.) and David Vitter (La.) were top targets for the DSCC.

“Maybe in that order,” Poersch said. “Initial polling tells me that all four incumbents have big problems in front of them.”

Rob Jesmer, the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, named seats held by Democratic Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Roland Burris (Ill.), as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), as the party’s top pickup opportunities. But while Republicans are publicly discussing potential top-tier candidates in Illinois and Connecticut, the GOP is still searching in Nevada.

“I’m very confident that we’re going to find someone against Sen. Reid,” Jesmer assured the crowd. “I think it’s notable that the first place that the president is going is go help raise some money [is] for him.”

Josh Kurtz contributed to this report.

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