The New York Times, always hypersensitive to potential Republican electoral troubles, used Friday's front page to push Democratic prospects for a special election in the suburbs of Buffalo, what the Times termed "one of New York's more conservative regions." One poll shows Republican candidate Jane Corwin in a tighter-than-expected race to fill the seat vacated upon the shock resignation of Republican Rep. Christopher Lee.
The reason? Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare reform package, according to the story by Raymond Hernandez, "Medicare Plan Shakes Up Race For House Seat. "
Writing of a Democratic victory in a special House election in Pennsylvania in May 2010 , congressional reporter Carl Hulse also relayed positive Democratic spin under the happy headlines "House Victory Lifts Democrats' Hopes for Fall" and "Republicans See Big Chance, But Worry About Wasting It." The GOP of course gained 63 seats in the House and six in the Senate.
Hernandez wrote on Friday's front page:
Only weeks ago, top Democrats appeared to have all but written off a special election for a Congressional seat in the suburbs of Buffalo. After all, Republican voters vastly outnumber Democrats in the district, and the Republican candidate, Jane L. Corwin, a well-liked state assemblywoman, seemed to be a shoo-in.You can follow Times Watch on Twitter .
Then along came Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin. Mr. Ryan, a top House Republican, released a plan calling for the most extensive overhaul of Medicare since it was created.
That, it seems, has significantly changed the contest in New York's 26th Congressional District.
After leveling a barrage of attacks against the proposal put forth by Mr. Ryan, the Democratic candidate, Kathy Hochul, has tightened the race considerably, even as her Republican opponent remained supportive of the plan, perhaps out of concern that distancing herself from it would alienate conservatives.
The shifting dynamics of the race, which have emboldened top Democrats and their allies, underscore the intense reaction to Mr. Ryan's proposal, the centerpiece of a budget that House Republicans voted to approve in April to address the nation's long-term financial problems.
Still, Ms. Hochul's message seems to strike a chord in the district, where the race has become much closer than experts in either party had expected. A recent Siena College poll of likely voters, for example, indicated that Ms. Corwin and Ms. Hochul are in a tight race. Ms. Corwin leads by only five points, within the poll's margin of error.