Tedisco concedes special election; Murphy heads to Congress
By Julia Green
After three weeks of counting and re-counting, the results are finally in: Scott Murphy is set to become the newest member of Congress. Murphy, a Democrat, will become the next congressman to represent New York’s 20th Congressional District following a lengthy election process that has dragged on since the end of March. Murphy’s opponent, Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, conceded the election on Friday, bringing to an end a recount in which election officials spent weeks counting absentee ballots from across the district.
A narrow 59-vote initial count and a delay in counting absentee ballots made it impossible to declare a winner on election night. The resulting recount gradually widened the gap in Murphy’s favor until it reached a point where there were no longer enough unaccounted-for ballots to swing the election in Tedisco’s favor. At the time of Tedisco’s concession, Murphy led by 399 votes.
“This was a close campaign every step of the way. Ultimately, it became clear that the numbers were not going our way and that the time had come to step aside and ensure that the next congressman be seated as quickly as possible,” Tedisco said in a statement.
The election was held to choose a successor to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who vacated the seat when she was named to the Senate in January. Gillibrand succeeded Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was appointed Secretary of State on Jan. 21.
Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, commended Murphy’s victory, saying, “I commend the voters in New York 20 for supporting Scott and giving the President another strong ally for change as the Obama Administration moves forward with its plans to reform healthcare, invest in clean energy, and improve education.” Kaine also called Murphy’s win in a Republican-leaning district a demonstration of support for the president’s leadership and his efforts to turn the economy around and create jobs.
President Obama narrowly carried the 20th Congressional District with 51 percent of the vote last year, but the GOP holds a 70,000-voter registration advantage – the largest Republican margin in the state.
The president also responded to Murphy’s victory, saying, “As a candidate, Scott courageously championed the economic plans we need to lift our nation and put it on a better path, and he will continue to do so in Congress. With his proven record of creating high-paying jobs and standing up for upstate New York, Scott will bring to the nation’s capital the change New Yorkers need.”
In the days leading up to the election, Murphy trailed Tedisco by as much as 21 points. Tedisco resigned from his post as the minority leader of the State Assembly three weeks ago.
“I wish Scott the very best as he works with our new President and Congress to address the tremendous challenges facing our country,” he said.
The 20th Congressional District comprises Columbia, Greene, Warren and Washington counties and parts of Saratoga, Delaware, Otsego, Rensselaer, Dutchess and Essex counties.