NYS Congressional Special Election 3/31: Keep NY-20 Democratic and make Michael Steele sad. Act Blue is raising funds for Democratic candidate Scott Murphy to hold Sen Gillibrand’s seat. 

Mr. Tedisco, of the State Assembly, is running on the Republican line for Sen. Gillibrand’s former seat. He was hand-picked for the job by the gentleman Ms. Gillibrand replaced, Miami rioter (and a gentleman with a rather complicated relationship with both his family and drunk driving laws) Mr. Sweeney. He’s got leatherface Boehner and Rudy Giuliani campaigning for him, Mitt Romney’s PAC raising money, and Mr. Steele’s RNC promoting his race as a Republican national comeback (although oddly enough, if you look at the first ad they paid for, it sorta leaves something out)

Did you notice in the ad where the man who’s going to bring Republicans back mentioned which party he belonged to? Nah, me neither, despite the fact that there are 75k more Republicans than Democrats registered in the district he’s hoping to win. Which is why it’s a little bit odd that the candidate with the greatest name recognition (Mr. Tedisco is a Republican leader in the State Assembly) has halved his lead from a few weeks ago (the AP is calling it a competitive race now)

Or maybe not. Being a Republican is a bit of a problem for Mr. Tedisco these days:

The biggest political matchup in the country right now pits a seasoned Republican lawmaker against an unknown Democrat in one of New York’s most traditionally conservative Congressional districts. National Republican leaders have vowed to make the contest a turning point for their beleaguered party, while Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have signaled that they will not be doing any heavy lifting to help out.

All the makings of a Republican rout.

Yet now when layoffs, foreclosures and anxiety are freezing the Catskills, Adirondacks and Hudson Valley like an economic ice storm, a single issue — the $787 billion federal stimulus package — appears to be providing the Democratic newcomer, Scott Murphy, with some traction in the campaign to succeed Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand in the House of Representatives.

His Republican opponent, James N. Tedisco, the minority leader in the State Assembly, refuses to say how he would have voted on the stimulus bill.* To endorse it, Republican operatives acknowledge, would put him at odds with every House Republican and endanger his support from Washington.

Still, Mr. Tedisco’s advisers believe the election will come down to which candidate voters like more, pointing to the 2006 election, when voters chose the appealing Ms. Gillibrand over her Republican predecessor, John E. Sweeney.

So, likability. Lemme ask you – do you pay to gas your car when you drive to work? Well, then, you should have all sorts of fellow-feeling for Tedisco, at least if you’re a NYS taxpayer. You pay for his commute too

  • Tedisco Received Taxpayer Funded Vehicle
    In 2001, Tedisco began using a taxpayer funded vehicle and charged gas and oil receipts to the state. [New York State Assembly, Expenditure Reports, 1996-2008]
  • Tedisco Spent Over $21,000 on Gas for State Vehicle
    From September 2000 through March 2008, Tedisco charged $21,343.76 in state vehicle oil and gas receipts. [New York State Assembly, Expenditure Reports, 1996-2008]

    • Hundreds of Dollars Charged on Same Day in 2001
      The oil and gas receipts in 2001 are notable for two occasions where substantial amounts were charged on the same day.
    • On June 29, 2001, a total of $413.80 was charged for oil and gas in three separate charges.
    • On December 11, 2001, a total of $628.46 was charged in five separate charges. [New York State Assembly, Expenditure Reports, 1996-2008]
  • Yet, Tedisco’s ride from his home in Schenectady to Albany is 17 miles [Google Maps]

Um. Yeah. Love me some him.

Miss New York congressional politics? This is your chance. Act Blue and keep Tedisco out of the House.

*Parenthetically, if you feel that you have the mad constituent skilz to get the Tedisco campaign to embrace openness, the HuffPo has some contact information here. Play nice.