You may be forgiven for failing to keep all the upcoming special elections straight. Along with the city council races, there’s an upstate election coming to replace new senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the House of Representatives. The official combatants are Democrat Scott Murphy and Republican Jim Tedisco (Libertarian Eric Sundwall also hopes to be on the ballot.) The district is pretty Republican, and though Gillibrand won twice there, she’s pretty Republican for a Democrat, herself, her recent conversions notwithstanding.
Political neophyte Murphy seems to be running as get-it-done job-creating guy who says that, as a former venture capitalist, he has “actually solved the problems of how to create business,” and has proclaimed himself a conservative Blue Dog Democrat. Tedisco, the Assembly minority leader, is campaigning cautiously as a known quantity (“A Name We Know, A Record We Trust”); when asked if he would have voted for the Obama stimulus bill, he said that was a “hypothetical.” In a GOP district that’s sometimes friendly to Democrats, that may be a wise course. But the big Dems are lining up behind Murphy, sucking up much of the press oxygen in the race. Both men say they want to debate, and with the election a political eternity away on March 31, there doesn’t seem to be any way they can avoid it.