COLUMBUS, Ohio (CGE) – The big upset win Tuesday by a Democrat in a thoroughly red Republican district in New York’s 26th House district could set the stage for more of the same in 2012 elections and give Ohio Congressman John Boehner considerable pause the next time he’s lining up a putt.
Can Dems win with pro-Medicare strategy?
In Tuesday’s special election for a vacant seat in New York 26th district [71.17% urban, 28.83% rural], Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul became the come from behind Democrat who beat Jane Corwin, the GOP endorsed candidate who Ohio Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner campaigned and raise money for. It appears Hochul’s improbable win, given she started out 20 points behind Corwin, appears to have clarified a strategy Democrats could win on next year if they want to reclaim the House, add more seats to their majority caucus in the U.S. Senate and return President Obama to a second term in the White House.
Speaker Boehner himself hosted a private luncheon to raise funds for Corwin, a candidate who was both anti-choice and a defender of Republican House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan that effectively dismantles Medicare as seniors know it today.
Polling numbers for the campaign showed Hochul winning among seniors and independents, two groups that broke heavily for Republicans in 2010, reports said. Hochul’s win is even more impressive given there are
Giving pause to Boehner
Tuesday’s win should give Boehner considerable pause, because it shows that even in a ruby red Republican district like the 26th, which has 27,000 more Republicans than Democrats in it and had only a few Democrats represent it since Civil War days, voters like Medicare and don’t want it tampered with.
Jef Pollock, Hochul’s pollster, said, “This race was won, in a significant way, because of the disastrous decision by the GOP to dismantle Medicare as we know it. Kathy Hochul was a great candidate. And credit is due to her for running a great race as well as credit to the campaign for making Medicare a central issue — that’s why Hochul was winning 74 percent of the voters who said that Medicare was the most important issue to them in the most recent Siena poll conducted just a few days ago,” Pollock said, according to HuffPost.
The well-funded GOP advocacy group American Crossroads, which spent heavily in the race according to published reports, said that the race indicates a resurgent Democratic party. “The debate over whether Medicare mattered more than a third-party candidate who split the Republican vote is mostly a partisan Rorschach Test,” Jonathan Collegio of ACR said. “What is clear is that this election is a wake-up call for anyone who thinks that 2012 will be just like 2010. It’s going to be a tougher environment, Democrats will be more competitive, and we need to play at the top of our game to win big next year.”
Pelosi on Hockul win
Washington watchers said the GOP paved the way for Hochul’s win Tuesday by voting earlier this year to end the current Medicare program that guarantees health coverage to seniors and replace it with a voucher system that provides premium support for the elderly to purchase private health insurance.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) capsulized the Democratic position in one sentence: “We have a plan –- it’s called Medicare.” The special election Tuesday was held to fill a seat Republican Congressman Chris Lee, who won it last year with over 70 percent of the vote, until he resigned it earlier this year after topless photographs he sent of himself to a woman on Craigslist emerged, forcing to him abandon his office.
Congressman Boehner, who Golf Digest named to its list of Washington’s top 150 golfers, has both championed Ryan’s budget and distanced himself from it.
Boehner, in an April interview, said Ryan’s proposal is just “an idea … worthy of consideration,” according to ABC news. “Paul Ryan has an idea that’s certainly worthy of consideration in terms of how do we — how do we do this in a more efficient way?” Boehner told ABC.
“I’m for it,” Boehner said, adding, “It’s our idea. Right? It’s Paul’s idea. Other people have other ideas. I’m not wedded to one single idea, but I think it’s — we have a plan.”
Ohioans like Medicare too
According to an Associated Press-GfK poll, most Americans say they don’t believe Medicare has to be cut to balance the federal budget. They said the same goes for Social Security. In the poll, 54 percent said it’s possible to balance the budget without cutting spending for Medicare, and 59 percent said the same about Social Security.
A poll by Public Policy Polling asked 1,000 Ohio voters this question: “In order to reduce the national debt, would you support or oppose cutting spending on Medicare, which is the government health insurance program for the elderly?” The respondents split 76 percent opposed to 20 percent in support. The poll was done in states with Democratic senators up for re-election in 2012, which includes Ohio with Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, one of the groups that sponsored the poll, said, “This polling shows that Democratic incumbents facing re-election in 2012 will have overwhelming support if they defend Medicare and Medicaid — and will have serious problems if they vote to cut either program in any way.”
Click ‘Subscribe’ above to have the next CGE column delivered via email to you. Read more stories on people, politics and government in Ohio here, or on Facebook or Twitter. Send news or tips to firstname.lastname@example.org
News: CGE articles are now included in the daily E-Clips compiled and distributed by the Ohio House of Representatives to its 99 Members, staff and others.