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Corwin and National Republican Congressional Committee ads have hit Hochul on raising taxes and have tried to tie her to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to bring Republican voters home. The initial results of that tactic were mixed, but some GOP insiders hope the Pelosi message will have greater traction in the final week of the campaign.
Still, even some Republicans acknowledge that the California Democrat simply doesnít have the visibility that she once did and that GOP control of the House makes Pelosi a less threatening figure.
So far Corwin, a conservative state Assemblywoman, hasnít received much blame for her campaignís difficulties, though some point to her upscale style in arguing that she hasnít connected with some voters. On the other hand, there is plenty of griping about the campaignís strategy and TV spots.
Some Republicans are unhappy that her television ads donít have her talking more directly to voters ó a tactic often employed when voters are angry at politicians and suspicious about their motives ó and they complain that her early ads didnít present her as someone who was angry and willing to shake up the system.
ďHer early spots made her look like a politician at a time when there is still a lot of anti-politician feeling out there,Ē a Republican operative said.
Democrats believe that Medicare was at least a partial explanation for Hochulís surge, though they are realistic about her chances of victory given the districtís bent.
ďHochulís numbers started rising only when she started running her Medicare ad,Ē insists one Democrat who argues Corwin hasnít answered the attacks effectively.
Republicans tend to dismiss the idea that a strong Hochul showing would reflect the potency of her efforts to connect Corwin to the Ryan budget and Ryanís proposal to dramatically change Medicare. But even if they are right, Democrats can take heart from the fact that Obamaís shadow didnít destroy Hochulís candidacy before the race even began.
GOP insiders are now hoping to avoid an embarrassing loss, keenly aware that a Corwin victory wonít give them momentum. Democrats, on the other hand, though afraid that Hochul may fall just short, figure that they have nothing to lose.
Stuart Rothenberg is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.