242 is the magic number for 112th

It looks like 242 will likely be the magic number for Republicans in the upcoming 112th Congress.  Events on Tuesday brought the hotly contested race in NY-25 to a conclusion and dealt a serious blow to Republican Randy Altschuler in NY-1.

Early Tuesday afternoon news broke that Democrat incumbent Dan Maffei had conceded to Ann Marie Buerkle in NY-25.  Dan Maffei had been dithering on a court appearance set for Wednesday to resolve challenged ballots and also mulled a possible hand recount of the entire district. 

The victory was a shock to many political experts:

"Almost no one saw this one coming," said GOP pollster John McLaughlin. "Ann Marie was definitely below the radar screen of most political experts."

One person who never saw it coming was Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, who had championed Mr. Maffei as the kind of new liberal Democrat America needs and the Northeast wants. "Absent a Republican wave of historic proportions, his seat now seems out of the GOP's reach," wrote Mr. Dionne back in September.

However, it wasn't all good news on Tuesday.   Monday, the count in NY-1 had been a dramatic, double-digit seesaw battle all day.  However, when election officials had counted the last ballot, Tim Bishop tendered a 235-vote lead over Randy Altschuler

Currently, there is no news on whether Randy Altschuler will concede.  Unlike NY-25, there are a large number of challenges from both Bishop and Altschuler

Both parties are due in court next Tuesday to determine the validity of over 2,000 challenged ballots. According to Schneider, Altschuler has challenged 1,261 votes while Bishop has challenged 790, a difference of 471.

Regardless of the potential legal battle for NY-1, the number 242 has several major historical implications.  Robert Stacy McCain points out:

    • In the 1946 mid-term election - a postwar backlash against Truman and 14 years of Democrat "New Deal" majorities -Republicans gained 55 House seats and held a majority of 246 seats.
    • In 1948, with Truman campaigning against the "do-nothing Congress," the GOP lost 75 seats.
    • In 1952, with the popular wartime commander Eisenhower at the top of the Republican ticket, the GOP regained a slender House majority, 221-213.
    • In 1954, Democrats recaptured a House majority that they held for the next 40 years.
    • In 1994, Republicans gained 54 seats for a 230-204 majority.
Ann Marie Buerkle's victory also makes for a total of 63 congressional seats that have changed hands in this election and NY claims the largest share of these victories with 6.

Sam Foster is a freelance political writer who blogs at Left Coast Rebel

Bill Zwerger adds:

Being a yes man to the former Speaker cost yet another incumbent Dem his job

This is great news for Republicans and a real sense of vindication for the Upstate New York Tea Party.

Rep. Dan Maffei, D-NY has officially conceded defeat to Republican and Conservative party candidate Ann Marie in New York's 25th Congressional race.  Buerkle, an Upstate NY Tea Party favorite, won a very close and highly contentious battle with the one-term liberal Democrat.  Because of Maffei's insistence on recounting and challenging absentee ballots in this diverse district which encompasses four counties, the race dragged on for an additional three weeks, ending today, November 23.  Following the election-night margin of close to 600 votes, the final margin was 567 in favor of Buerkle. 

Thankfully, Maffei was persuaded not to demand what he was threatening to; a complete hand recount of the more than 200,000 ballots cast.  Having garnered endorsement from the Working Family Party, an ACORN offshoot, there was a real concern amongst Buerkle supporters that something untoward might happen if the recount was allowed to proceed.

The vindication for the NY Tea Party comes from the fact that Mr. Maffei was a true-blue, Obama supporting, Pelosi controlled liberal, who showed a great deal of disdain to any constituents who disagreed with his statist view of government's role.  In fact, he voted with Pelosi 96.5% of the time during his brief stint in the House, including yes votes on the stimulus, health-care, and cap and trade.

Another big negative for Maffei was his association with disgraced Congressman Charlie Rangel.  Rangel was Maffei's former boss, mentor, and financial benefactor.

However, if more evidence is needed as to why voters in New York's 25th sent this Pelosi puppet packing, the following statement from his concession speech should suffice:

"I am also deeply proud of my commitment to energy reform and mitigating global climate change. Thank you again to the experts and concerned citizens who stood by me. Denying the clear facts and need for action on this issue either out of political expediency or plain ignorance hurts our local economy and threatens our planet."

In so many words, if victorious, he would have voted to spend more, tax more, and saddle our industry with yet more crippling regulation. Geez, who wouldn't have wanted more of that?  In the already over-taxed and business hostile environs of New York State, the progressive idealism of a delusional, out-of-touch liberal politician was just too much for voters to reward with another term.