Democrats picked off a heavily Republican upstate New York congressional seat Tuesday night in a special election that became a referendum on Medicare.
Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul edged past Republican state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin to win the seat in the 26th Congressional District.
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With 83 percent of precincts reporting, Hochul had 48 percent of the vote, compared with 42 percent for Corwin.
A chant of "Kathy, Kathy" went up at the Hochul headquarters at a suburban Amherst union hall.
A third candidate, tea party contender Jack Davis, also siphoned votes away from Corwin.
The seat became vacant in February when Republican Rep. Chris Lee resigned after shirtless photos he sent to a woman surfaced online.
The 26th Congressional District, which covers a swath of rural and suburban towns between Buffalo and Rochester, was one of only four districts in the state – out of 29 – that favored Republican John McCain over President Barack Obama in 2008.