Close Race to Fill Gillibrand's Senate Seat

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The two candidates vying to fill Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's old congressional seat met in their final debate last night. The special election in the district surrounding Albany is set for Tuesday, and some political analysts see it as a referendum on President Obama and his economic policies.

The Republican candidate in the race, Jim Tedisco, opposed the federal stimulus package because he said it was riddled with pork-barrel spending. But at last night's debate, his Democratic opponent Scott Murphy pounced on him for lauding stimulus money on its way to the district for energy projects.

MURPHY: You can't have it both ways. You can't say that it's pork and then say that it's important money that we need to get here and that you're fighting to get those dollars here.

REPORTER: Tedisco, the state Assembly Minority leader, touted his direct experience handling the stimulus package.

TEDISCO: I'm the only one here who's actually implementing that particular program. Myself, the governor, the other three leaders have been sitting down over the last three weeks implementing this program.

REPORTER: Polls show the race in a dead heat. The 20th district was long a Republican stronghold until Gillibrand won the seat in 2006. President Obama formally endorsed Murphy this week.