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Politics

New York Politicians: A Bunch of Losers

September 8, 2011

Our indefatigable House Race Editor Jessica Taylor flagged a telling statistic in Wednesday's House Race Hotline that is even more notable with Democrats struggling to hold onto the seemingly-safe seat of former Rep. Anthony Weiner.

In every contested New York special election during Barack Obama's presidency, the candidate serving in the state legislature lost, despite being the early frontrunner. In 2009, Republican state Assemblyman Jim Tedisco lost to Democrat Scott Murphy, and GOP state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava's campaign finished in third place, behind Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y. And most recently, state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin blew an early advantage to Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul. All three had vastly different ideologies and voting records, but they all started as the favorites in Republican-friendly districts and lost in gut-wrenching ways.

By contrast, of the six House seats that Republicans picked up in the 2010 midterms, all the winners came from outside Albany. Reps. Ann Marie Buerkle and Nan Hayworth were doctors. Rep. Chris Gibson was an Iraq war veteran. Rep. Tom Reed served as a small-town mayor. Rep. Richard Hanna was a successful businessman. And Rep. Michael Grimm worked for the FBI. Republicans picked up more seats in New York during the midterms than in any other state, despite their miserable special election track record.

Now it's the Democrats' turn to experience political heartburn at the hands of a political lifer. State Assemblyman David Weprin is struggling to hang onto a solidly-Democratic seat against a Republican businessman, Bob Turner, whose career has been entirely outside of politics. If Turner wins, it would mean that politicians of both parties lost to outsiders four straight times in seats they easily should have hung onto.

That disparity serves as a telling reminder about how toxic a political background can be these days - at least during the Obama administration.

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