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The First Battleground Over The Ryan Budget The First Battleground Over The Ryan Budget

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POLITICS

The First Battleground Over The Ryan Budget

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Rep. Paul Ryan on December 1, 2010.(Chet Susslin)

Hochul's strategy is nothing new - she's been hammering the GOP nominee for weeks over the proposal, first pressuring Corwin to take a position, and then criticizing her after she issued a statement after the vote confirming that she would have voted for Ryan's budget proposal. But it is the first time Hochul - or any Democratic candidate, for that matter - has gone after a Republican in an ad specifically over the Ryan budget. It's a significant buy (1,000 points) and the plan has been fueling controversy at town halls during the congressional recess. "These types of baseless scare tactics are exactly what you'd expect from a career politician like Kathy Hochul, but Western New Yorkers deserve better," said Corwin spokesman Matthew Harkel. Hochul's ad offers an early example of how effective the Medicare attacks will be in the 2012 elections. She's running in a Republican-leaning seat - President Obama won 46 percent of the vote there in 2008 - but it's also one of the most senior-heavy districts in the country, with 15 percent of residents over the age of 65. Self-funded third-party candidate Jack Davis, a former Democrat who vied for the GOP nomination, has come out against the Ryan plan. If Hochul is able to use the issue to make this a hotly-contested race, it's a surefire sign Democratic attacks on the GOP Medicare proposals are working. If she doesn't come close, though, Democratic claims that the issue will be a game-changer in the battle for the House are likely overstated. Hochul told Hotline in an interview earlier this month that she has been hearing concerns over the Medicare changes as she's traveled the district and that her race could certainly be seen as a harbinger for the Medicare debate going forward - much like the stimulus bill did in the 2009 special election in New York's 20th District and the health care bill was in the Massachusetts Senate special election. But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has still remained on the sidelines with the clock ticking until the May 24 vote. Hochul had an impressive fundraising quarter, too, raising over $350,000. And she received a significant endorsement last week from EMILY's List - who isn't known to dole out endorsements unless they truly believe a female Democratic candidate can win, even in a GOP district. The unknown factor is whether the DCCC will decide to help Hochul, especially on an issue they're pouncing on in nearly every other swing district in the country. Democrats don't necessarily see the district as one of their best targets to test the Ryan budget. Their push so far against the plan has been focused on the 61 districts Obama won in 2008 - and the 26th District isn't among those. Updated at 11:09 a.m.

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