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There has been quite a tangled web of political promotions that got us to this point but at months end, voters of New York’s 20th Congressional District will be going to the polls. They will be voting to fill the vacant congressional seat that Kirsten Gillibrand left behind when New York’s replacement Governor nominated her to fill the vacant senate seat created by Hillary Clinton after she was nominated to replace Condoleeza Rice as Secretary of State.

With all the political appointing completed, and the dust settled, voters of the 20th C.D. will finally have a say in who should represent them. They will be choosing between political novice, Democrat Scott Murphy, incumbent Republican Assemblyman James Tedisco and Libertarian nominee and state Libertarian Party Chairman Eric Sundwall.

Unfortunately or not, Sundwall is not gaining any traction with voters and will be, at most, an insignificant factor in the race. So victory will come down to Murphy or Tedisco.

Just how and why New York Democrats decided to nominate Scott Murphy is puzzling. There were some stronger individuals with greater name identification and accomplished records than Murphy, yet party officials settled on him.

Republicans however went with Tedisco, a candidate that is known locally as Mr. Schenectady, the name of the town he is from.

James Tedisco is the minority leader of the New York State Assembly and he is probably the best choice Republicans could have made.

Before he became the assembly minority leader, I had the fortune to work with Assemblyman Tedisco. For a time, I served as the New York City Regional Director for the Assembly Minority. There, I found Assemblyman Tedisco to be hard working, in touch and well grounded. He never took his legislative service for granted and he never backed down from the fight for government efficiency and fiscal responsibility.

So in my view, New York Republicans have put the right person up for the job. In Jim Tedisco they have anstandout1-600x270 experienced leader who can truly address the needs of his unique district in Washington, D.C..

That is important because, nationally, for Republicans, this is an important election. In the wake of increased congressional losses along with the loss of the White House, another loss will only reinforce the false impression of a party that is over.

As for the new R.N.C. team, under the leadership of new Chairman, Mike Steele, this special election is a special opportunity.

Mike Steele has vowed that “The Republican Party will no longer ignore the Northeast,” and he has made it clear that “Our conservative principles are applicable to every county and corner of this country.” This election provides the opportunity to prove that.

Despite liberal assertions that the G.O.P. is dead, in the weeks following the electoral victory of President Obama, Democrats have lost elections. They failed to defeat Republican Senator Bob Corker in a special Tennessee runoff and in December they failed to win a congressional seat in a heavily democratic district. That seat was won by Republican Joseph Cao.

But both those seats were in the south, where Republicans still remain competitive. Such is not the case in the liberal northeast. So a win there will go a long way. It will be a boost to Republican fortunes and rebuilding efforts.

President Obama won the 20th Congressional District by three percentage points and while still in the midst of a honeymoon of sorts, with the electorate and the media, his popularity could be key for Democrats. But the question is does the President want to put his prestige on the line so early and risk tarnishing his Midas touch image.

tedisco_podium_7I am sure that the decision will be made by the results that pollsters come up with in the days before the March 31st election. If that is the case, President Obama will probably not be spending much time in New York. Polls have had Tedisco beating Murphy by as much as 12 to 21 percentage points. It only underscores the fact that Tedisco is well known and well liked in the region whereas Murphy, a venture capitalist by trade, is unknown and has little time to increase his name identification.

But Murphy is waging an aggressive campaign and despite a debt of more than 16 million dollars, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is preparing to throw whatever it can into the race.

In the end, I believe, Jim Tedisco will win the seat.

Although it may not be viewed as a referendum on President Obama, the pick up of a Republican seat in the liberal northeast will be worth its weight in gold. It will help to demonstrate that although Republicans may be down, they are not out and that will inject some much needed enthusiasm into the G.O.P.’s base. It will help to boost fundraising efforts and give us momentum as we enter the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia this November.


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Income taxes are normally due on April 15th…

… unless that date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, in which case they are due on Monday the 16th or 17th.

However, I have been told that rule has recently been changed for this and for the next 4 years, tax payments will not be due until you are nominated to a cabinet position.

Please check with your Tax adviser to confirm.



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  1. kempite

    Morris………To describe other party activists as “hacks” when your favored candidate is the chairman of a party is a bit of hypocritical commentary. By your definition I would assume that you are “hack”. Of course you may be sopporting Eric Sundwall because you believe in him, but by your words I will consider your loyalty to candidate and convictions to be the selfish results of a partisan political hack.

    As for being a big factor in this election, when more than 5% of those who will be voting in this election can tell me who Eric Sundwall is and what he stands for, I might consider him a possible factor. Until then, as I wrote, the most that Sundwall can be is an “insignificant factor”.

  2. Morris Guller

    Eric Sundwall collected over 7,000 signatures from voters in the 20th CD in 12 days to get his name on the ballot.

    Mr. Tedisco and Mr. Murphy received 10 votes each from party hacks in closed door meetings of their respective parties.

    Mr. Sundwall will be a major factor in this election and with an expected low turnout he may win.

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