New York Congress Race Too Close to Call

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The two candidates in a New York
congressional race that focused on President Barack Obama's
economic policies were separated by only 65 votes with all the
precincts in and more than 150,000 votes counted Tuesday.

The race between Republican Jim Tedisco and Democrat Scott
Murphy will come down to the roughly 10,000 absentee ballots issued
by the state Board of Elections. Those ballots generally are cast
by people who expect to be absent or unable to vote at the polls
and usually are mailed in. They aren't required to be returned
until April 13.

Murphy held the slim lead over Tedisco in the race to replace
Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate to succeed
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The special election drew an unusual level of national
attention, and both candidates had financial support from their
national parties and political action committees - mostly spent on
increasingly negative television ads, which bothered supporters of
both candidates.

"I'm tired of candidates telling us what's bad about the other
person instead of what's good about them," said Ralph Liporace, a
53-year-old independent who voted for Murphy at the Brunswick
Volunteer Fire Department.

Vincent Poleto, 21, of Brunswick, said he voted for Tedisco
"because I've known him for years."

"But I'm not happy about the negative campaigning," he said.

Despite ongoing campaigning and get out the vote efforts,
polling places and local election boards reported light turnout,
not unusual in a special election in which there are no statewide
offices or big names on the ballot to attract more casual voters.

Republicans hoped a win would knock Obama off balance and put
them back on the political map in the Northeast after two dismal
cycles that saw them go from nine New York representatives before
the 2006 elections to three after the 2008 vote. Republican
National Committee Chairman Michael Steele had identified the race
as one of the party's top priorities for this year.

Democrats looked for the reassurance of a win in a Republican
district less than 100 days after Obama took office and in the wake
of his $787 billion stimulus package, which was criticized for a
loophole allowing bonuses for executives of the bailed-out American
International Group Inc. insurance company.

Each campaign raised more than $1 million and got major support
from national committees and political groups.

Murphy, 39, is a venture capitalist multimillionaire from
Columbia, Mo., who has lived in New York for more than a decade.

Tedisco, 58, is the GOP minority leader in the state Assembly.
He's been in politics for 27 years representing a mostly
working-class district. He doesn't live in the congressional
district, an issue used by Democrats during the campaign.

The diverse district stretches from the rural Adirondack
Mountains, an hour south of the Canadian border, down to Dutchess
County, about an hour north of New York City.

Pat Ginsberg, a Democrat in her 60s, voted Tuesday morning at
the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site in Kinderhook,
southeast of Albany.

"I wanted a Democrat because I wanted someone who backed
Obama's policies," she said.

John Johnas, 62, an independent from Rensselaer County, said
Obama's policies didn't figure in his decision to vote for Tedisco.

"I've always liked Jim," he said. "He's at least from the
area. I don't know much about the other guy."


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