tedisco_steele_609.thumbnail.JPGNYS Congressional Special Election 3/31 is raising money for this race.

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.

Um, oops.

Mr. Tedisco, the Republican who’s trying to get Sen. Gillibrand’s old seat, has a small problem

Democrat Scott Murphy is galloping to catch up with Republican Jim Tedisco in the race for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s vacated seat in New York’s 20th Congressional District, according to the new Siena Research Institute Poll. The trend lines are from the last poll released on February 26.

Republican candidate Jim Tedisco – 45 (-1)
Democratic candidate Scott Murphy – 41 (+7)
Libertarian candidate Eric Sundwall – 1 (+1)

Last month, Tedisco was winning independent voters, but now, aided by the endorsement and ballot line of the Independence Party, Murphy is winning them by a margin of 43 percent to 31 percent. Murphy is actually performing better among Democrats than Tedisco is among Republicans, but the Republican voter registration advantage is enough to give the Republican a narrow overall lead.

 That’s not just awkward for Mr. Tedisco. It seems like the NY-20 race now has national implications

Has Michael Steele’s bumbling reached a critical mass that it will cost him the chairmanship of the RNC — or will he just keep on bumbling instead?

The latest bad news for Steele is a report that certain Republicans may be plotting a coup against him, a no-confidence vote to be held after the March 31 special election for Kirsten Gillibrand’s former House seat is out of the way.

All of a sudden, embattled GOP chair (and "de facto leader") Steele (who came around last week to support Tedisco) is taking this very seriously

The Republican National Committee (RNC) today announced it is transferring $100,000 to the New York Republican State Committee.

   "The RNC is proud to make an investment in our state parties and hard working grassroots. These funds will be used to show our commitment to re-establishing a strong GOP presence in the Northeast. Our party is devoting the energy and resources necessary to win the special election in New York’s 20th Congressional district," said Chairman Michael Steele.

I guess it was too little too late for Tedisco (still reeling from his anti-stimulus Giuliani endorsement), because he doesn’t seem to want to be Mr. Steele’s friend any more

Republican and Conservative congressional candidate James Tedisco is shaking up his campaign as his Democratic, Independence and Working Families opponent Scott Murphy gains ground in polling.

Tedisco said Thursday he is taking over control of the content of his advertising to distinguish "the real Jim Tedisco" from the partisan negativity his own national party has displayed in the campaign so far.

"I’m taking over and we’re going to run a campaign that relates to the people of the 20th Congressional District," said Tedisco, the state Assembly minority leader from Glenville.

Tedisco led by 12 percentage points in the previous Siena poll two weeks earlier. The new poll was the second indicator this week that the race is tightening.

On Wednesday, The Rothenberg Political Report, a Washington, D.C.-based political journal, changed its rating of the race from "toss up/tilt Republican" to "pure toss up."

which sort of makes you wonder

Now Tedisco, who led by 12 points three weeks ago, is shaking up his campaign and blaming the National Republican Congressional Committee for negative ads in the district. The GOP candidate plans to "distinguish ‘the real Jim Tedisco’ from the partisan negativity his own national party has displayed in the campaign so far." "We’re going to be running it right here from Albany," Tedisco said. "I’ll be fully in charge of it." It’s a statement that must raise questions among voters about who was running the campaign before.

Of couse, Tedisco isn’t the only threat to Steele. fivethirtyeight has a little list.

On the other hand, the head of the Manhattan GOP, a Ms. Saul, is supporting Tedisco. Ms. Saul is the only thing standing between our current billionaire mayor, Mr. Bloomberg, and a place on the Republican line for his next mayoral campaign. Her endorsement could be fairly valuable right now.

Whatevs. As ever, if you want to help hold this seat, discommode the people who don’t think that’s a good idea, and possibly trigger a leadership struggle amongst the RNC, Act Blue is raising funds for Democratic candidate Scott Murphy to hold Sen Gillibrand’s seat.