RNC Invests $100,000 as New York Special Tightens

Posted March 12, 2009 at 10:01am

Updated: 12:38 p.m.The Republican National Committee announced on Thursday that it is transferring $100,000 to the New York GOP as part of its efforts to boost state Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco in the special Congressional election in the Empire State’s 20th district.The announcement came as an independent poll released on Thursday showed an increasingly tight race between Tedisco and venture capitalist Scott Murphy (D).With less than three weeks to go in the special election, Murphy had cut Tedisco’s lead in the poll to 4 points, after trailing by a dozen points in the same poll just two weeks ago.The Siena Research Institute poll of 712 likely voters found Tedisco ahead, 45 percent to 41 percent. Libertarian Eric Sundwall picked up 1 percent of the vote. The survey, taken Monday and Tuesday, had a 3.7-point error margin, meaning Murphy is close to putting the race within the margin of error.“Both candidates have become more known to voters over the last few weeks, as airwaves have been inundated with commercials and mailboxes have been filled with messages from both campaigns,— said Steven Greenberg, a spokesman for the Siena New York poll. “Tedisco remains better-known, with both higher favorable and unfavorable ratings from the voters.—The key difference between now and the Siena poll taken two weeks ago is that Murphy’s standing has improved dramatically with independent voters. In this week’s poll, the Democrat led 43 percent to 37 percent among independents; Tedisco had a 45 percent to 31 percent lead two weeks ago. That’s particularly significant in an upstate district where there are 70,000 more enrolled Republicans than Democrats.According to the poll, Murphy is also making gains on key issues. Whereas Tedisco led two weeks ago when voters were asked which candidate was best equipped to address six major issues before Congress, Murphy has pulled ahead on the economy and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.Murphy may also be getting a boost from President Barack Obama, who had a 65 percent favorability rating in the district, and the woman he is hoping to replace, now-Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D), whose appointment to the Senate in late January created the House vacancy. Gillibrand had a 78 percent favorable rating in the Siena poll, and she is expected to up her appearances on Murphy’s behalf as the March 31 election approaches.Both national parties now appear to be fully engaged in the race, and RNC Chairman Michael Steele reiterated his commitment to swinging the district into the GOP column with his announcement that the national committee would transfer $100,000 to the state party.“Our party is devoting the energy and resources necessary to win the special election,— Steele said in a statement.The chairman indicated that the investment of cash in New York will be part of a broader strategy to help Republicans in the northeast, where the GOP has been particularly bloodied in the last two election cycles.Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure unit began airing a TV ad on Thursday, taking Murphy to task for creating an Internet company in India. The ad is accompanied by sitar music and images of the Taj Mahal.