In an election year marked by voter dissatisfaction, the people of New York’s 20th Congressional District ousted Democrat Scott Murphy and replaced him with Republican Chris Gibson. Gibson won 56 percent of the vote while Murphy received only 44 percent.
Although gracious in his concession speech at the Gideon-Putnam hotel, Murphy did say afterward that his campaign was assailed by 2.5 million dollars worth of attack ads, more than any other member of Congress. However, he called on his supporters to get behind Gibson and move forward. “Please stay involved, stay active, and continue to be part of the solution,” he said. He thanked his supporters and opened the bar to all for a much-needed drink. Murphy won his seat against Republican Assemblyman James Tedisco after Kirsten Gillibrand was named by Gov. David Paterson to fill Hillary Clinton’s vacant Senate seat.
Across town, a different party was under way at the Holiday Inn. Waves of Gibson supporters crammed into a large meeting room that, by the end of the night, was standing room only. When an aide stood up onstage at 11:15 and declared that Murphy had just conceded, the room erupted into applause. In a hotel room above them, Murphy and Gibson were having a conversation via telephone.
Gibson’s win was largely based on his platform of lowering taxes and an ad blitz that even former President Bill Clinton couldn’t overcome while stumping for Murphy on Monday. A Siena poll conducted in mid- September showed Murphy with a 17-point lead over Gibson. The latest, released on October 26th, showed Gibson with a nine-point lead.
“The Gibson campaign has certainly been more successful in creating a negative view of Murphy than the Murphy campaign has been in trying to create a negative image of Gibson,” said Seina pollster Steven Greenberg.
Many polling stations in Saratoga County reported a turnout of more than 50 percent with more than two hours left to vote. Mary Suda, chairwoman of the 22nd voting district, compared the turnout to that of the presidential election in 2008. “It was more than just a regular midterm election,” she said.