With more than three-quarters of the precincts reporting, AP has called the congressional election in upstate New York for Democrat Kathy Hochul. Republican Jane Corwin was trailing by six points. Tea Party candidate Jack Davis, whose support was supposed to break toward Ms. Corwin, was polling below 10 percent.
This was the first federal election since Congressman Paul Ryan proposed a budget that kills Medicare. House Republicans voted for it, and Ms. Corwin said she would have joined them. That unpopular stance appears to have swung this election from a sure bet for Republicans to a loss.
The word on Capitol Hill is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will call for a vote on the Ryan plan this week, possibly on Thursday. That would force Republicans in the Senate to take the same litmus test as their colleagues in the House, after watching what just happened in New York. Likewise, the 2012 Republican field has to formulate some kind of response to the Ryan plan. Oppose it, as Newt Gingrich did, and the party faithful will give you a drubbing. Support it, and voters will turn against you.
On Wednesday, we plan to bring you an exclusive interview with Senator Reid. Official responses from the parties, after the jump.
From Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Steve Israel: "Today, the Republican plan to end Medicare cost Republicans $3.4 million and a seat in Congress. And this is only the first seat....We served notice to the Republicans that we will fight them anywhere in America when it comes to defending and strengthening Medicare."
From National Republican Congressional Committee chair Pete Sessions: "History shows one important fact: the results of competitive special elections from Hawaii to New York are poor indicators of broader trends or future general election outcomes. If special elections were an early warning system, they sure failed to alert the Democrats of the political tsunami that flooded their ranks in 2010."