On Tuesday evening, the Associated Press called the special election for New York's 26th district House seat for Democrat Kathy Hochul over Republican Jane Corwin.
A Siena College poll published Saturday showed Hochul with a slight lead over Corwin, 42-38 percent, in the race to succeed Republican Rep. Chris Lee, who resigned in February after shirtless photos he sent to a woman were published online. Wealthy tea party candidate Jack Davis had 12 percent support -- far behind but still drawing enough to affect a close race in the special election. The survey of 639 likely voters was conducted May 18-20 and had a sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
Corwin, a multimillionaire state assemblywoman, watched her lead evaporate after expressing support for a plan crafted by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to strip billions from Medicare and recast it as a voucher program. Corwin said she supported the Ryan plan as a way to ensure Medicare for future generations.
Hochul quickly seized on Corwin's position and cast herself as the protector of Medicare in a district with a large population of voters over 55. Her television ads hammered the issue even as Corwin tried to shift her position, suggesting she'd favor changing the Ryan plan if elected.
Davis further vexed Republicans in a district that has many tea party supporters. Local GOP leaders tried to make hay of an encounter between Davis and a videographer Davis appeared to shove after the videographer taunted him for refusing to appear in a debate with Hochul and Corwin. The GOP tried to use the video to paint Davis as a bully.
The race has drawn attention and more than $2 million from both national parties and several independent groups. Both Ryan and New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie have endorsed Corwin, while former President Bill Clinton recorded a phone call for Hochul and New York's popular Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo released an ad supporting her.