Democrat Kathy Hochul topples Republican Jane Corwin to grab crucial upstate congressional seat

May 25, 2011


An upstate Democrat won a Republican congressional seat Tuesday night in one of the state’s most conservative districts that some saw as a referendum on theGOP‘s plan to rejigger Medicare.

Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul knocked off Republican Assemblywoman Jane Corwinto win the seat in the 26th Congressional District, which runs between Buffalo andRochester.

Hochul garnered 47% of the vote to Corwin’s 43%. Jack Davis, a Tea Party candidate, pulled about 8% of the vote.

Hochul said she refused to “decimate” Medicare.

“How about ending big handouts for Big Oil?” Hochul rallied supporters during her victory speech at a union hall outside Buffalo. “How about making millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share?”

Democrats basked in her victory.

“There are two reasons we won tonight. Kathy Hochul is a great candidate and a Western New Yorker through and through. And New Yorkers of all political persuasions do not want to destroy Medicare. This election was a strong referendum on both,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer.

President Obama, traveling in Europe, also offered his congratulations to the winner of the closely watched special election.

“Kathy and I both believe that we need to create jobs, grow our economy, and reduce the deficit in order to outcompete other nations and win the future,” he said in a White Housestatement.

“Kathy has shown, through her victory and throughout her career, that she will fight for the families and businesses in western New York, and I look forward to working with her when she gets to Washington.”

Corwin held an early lead but saw it dwindle away after she aligned herself with a Republican-backed budget plan that would slice billions from Medicare.

She conceded the race at a storefront in a Buffalo strip mall, telling supporters, “The discourse of this election leaves me concerned. We cannot continue to play gotcha politics and avoid confronting the real issues facing this country.”

The seat became vacant in February when Republican Rep. Chris Lee resigned after shirtless photos he sent to a woman surfaced online.


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