John Fund at WSJ:
It will be the first gauge of President Barack Obama’s early days, and as the National Journal reports “it’s his stimulus package that’s the focus of the debate here.” The furor over the bonuses given out by American International Group (AIG), which a loophole in the stimulus bill allowed, has only heightened the attention that the race is getting both in New York and in Washington where officials in both parties are hoping for a win.
The vacancy in New York’s 20th congressional district — which stretches north from Poughkeepsie to Lake Placid — was created when Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Senate seat. Traditionally the district has been represented by Republicans, but like most of the Northeast it has been lurching left. Last November, Barack Obama carried the district, and Ms. Gillibrand won 62% against a former New York secretary of state who spent $6 million against her.
To replace Ms. Gillibrand, Democrats put up a fresh face, the kind of candidate that helped Rahm Emanuel take back the House for Democrats in 2006. Scott Murphy is a Harvard-educated venture capitalist who only moved into the area three years ago from Missouri. Using perfect Rahm-speak, he says he’ll join the moderate Blue Dog Democrats if elected.