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March 20, 2009

Panic! At Tedisco

Posted in: 2008 Election

 The NY Congressional Special Election is March 31. Keep NY-20 Democratic and make Michael Steele sad. Act Blue is raising funds for Democratic candidate Scott Murphy to hold the seat previously held by now-Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

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In the latest episode of As the District Turns, Assemblyman Tedisco made it clear to a reporter from the Daily Star in Oneonta that he wasn’t at all impressed with putative party head Rush Limbaugh

Political commentators may see the 20th Congressional District race as a contest of national consequence, but Republican James Tedisco, 58, is focused closer to home.

“Rush Limbaugh is meaningless to me,” Tedisco told the editorial board of The Daily Star on Thursday. “The only constituency I’m worried about are the residents of the 20th Congressional District.”

Voters will go to the polls March 31. Tedisco, 58, noted that the National Republican Congressional Committee and GOP National Committee Chairman Michael Steele are focused on this race, but he said he is calling his own shots, running his own campaign.

“I was out in the streets, shaking hands, trying to meet everybody,” he said. “I hadn’t run a congressional race before, but I realized I had to get inside and take control of my message.”

His message is, apparently, Please don’t hurt me

In the hours since the story was posted, it has gone viral — the Huffington Post first linked to it and it is all over the blogs now.

In response, Tedisco spokesman Adam Kramer sent over the following statement:

“Jim’s comments were in response to a question about what voters are asking him about on the campaign trail. So far, the concerns he has been hearing from voters on the campaign trail have been local in nature, such as his support for lower property taxes, fiscal responsibility, and his opponent’s appalling support for the AIG bonus loophole. That was his point and any effort to characterize it otherwise is a distortion of the facts.”

After the jump: Mr. Tedisco’s generous birther friend from the National Republican Trust PAC makes an unfortunate phone call to the Albany Times-Union about the ad they were forced to pull of the air last week:

 Yesterday, we had a blog post reporting that the National Republican Trust PAC had asked for its anti-Murphy ad to be taken off the air after NBC affiliate WNYT-13 asked for documentation proving the claims on their ad.

Last evening, National GOP Trust PAC Executive Director Scott Wheeler called to dispute elements of the post. It was an, erm, colorful conversation. I informed Wheeler early on that the conversation was on-the-record. You can hear the audio below. (Only part of the conversation is recorded, as it took a little time to set up my recorder).

Among a number of complaints, Wheeler says that his organization did submit documentation to the station.

However, when asked again about the documentation, NBC affiliate WNYT-13 general manager Steve Baboulis said, “They may have sent something — as far as we know, we didn’t have it. My general sales manager does not have any backup received from that group. Our national rep firm who handles that business out of their office, they said did not receive that. The operative message that we got was that that particular copy on that spot was to be discontinued and that we would see more copy forthcoming.”

 Mr. Tedisco’s own ads are more positive. Here, he quotes r8ny (Ben Smith of Politico’s project) on the awesomeness of himself. Unfortunately, what he was linking to was a r8ny posting of a press release from his own campaign.

In other news: with national Republicans prioritizing this race (and Steele running for his life), the Democratic candidate is still outfundraising Mr. Tedisco.

And that’s down to you, and you’re doing an awesome job. If you want to keep going, you can donate here.


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