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In 20th CD Election, Politics Is National

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The center of America's political universe today is New York's 20th congressional district, where a special election has become a referendum on President Obama. WNYC's Isaac-Davy Aronson has more.

REPORTER: One recent flier for Democratic congressional candidate Scott Murphy doesn't even mention him by name. It just has a photo of President Obama. Murphy's Republican opponent, State Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, has sought to tie Murphy, a businessman, to the AIG bonuses, which Tedisco blames on the White House. And much of the campaign to fill the old seat of now-Senator Kirsten Gillbrand has revolved around the relative merits of the federal stimulus package.

The mostly rural 20th district stretches along the Hudson River valley from just north of the New York City suburbs to just below the Canadian border, and it's politically up-for-grabs, leading the national parties to look to it as a bellwether. It was a Republican stronghold for decades until Gillibrand took the seat in 2006, then went narrowly for Obama in November. The final polls show today's race too close to call. For WNYC, I'm Isaac-Davy Aronson.

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