Analyst Cook Dismisses Import of Special NY Election

Wednesday, 18 May 2011 08:51 AM

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Stop obsessing over the unexpectedly close race for New York’s 26th Congressional District, political analyst Charlie Cook writes in the National Journal. The May 22 special election, which could hand a traditionally Republican seat to a Democrat, is no bellwether or harbinger of either party’s fortunes, Cook maintains.

Charlie Cook, New York 26, special election
Charlie Cook: Frenzy over NY-26 ignores bigger issues. (Getty Images Photo)
The sudden media fascination with NY-26 obscures more interesting and pivotal developments elsewhere, Cook writes. To wit: Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., retiring after four terms, and former Arkansas Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee deciding not to run for president.

Kohl’s departure gives Republicans a strong shot at another seat next year as they attempt to reclaim a U.S. Senate majority. Huckabee’s exit shakes up the 2012 presidential field by creating “a vacuum in the social, cultural, and religious bracket in this GOP nomination tournament,” Cook writes.

The special election outside Buffalo, N.Y., has captured national attention as both parties battle to succeed Republican Rep. Christopher Lee, who resigned in a personal scandal. Medicare reform also has become an issue in this closely watched contest.

But Cook basically describes NY-26 as a strictly local hometown contest involving an establishment Republican, Jane Corwin; a Democratic challenger, Kathy Hochul; and an eccentric, party-switching political neophyte who’s spending his own money to run as a tea partyer, Jack Davis.

“If anyone can find a race next year with a similar configuration, be my guest,” Cook writes. “But implying that the outcome . . . portends anything about any conventional race next year amounts to cheap spin and drive-by ‘analysis’.”


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