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Results from NY 20th congressional race: The Libertarian effect, etc.

from Ballot Access News
Official Election Returns, 20th U.S. House District
May 19th, 2009

New York has released official election returns for the special election of March 31 in the 20th U.S. House district [to fill the seat of now Senator Kirsten Gillibrand]. The only candidates on the ballot were Democrat Scott Murphy and Republican Jim Tedisco. Murphy won with a margin of 726 votes. There were 429 “blank, void and scattering” votes. Probably the overwhelming majority of these were for Eric Sundwall, Libertarian Party nominee whose petitions were challenged so that he did not appear on the regular ballot. He did appear on some absentee ballots. Since U.S. House was the only office on the ballot, it is not likely that many, if any, of the 429 “blank, void and scattering” votes were actual blanks. If someone took the bother to go to the polls, it is unlikely that he or she would not vote for the only office on the ballot.

The Conservative Party cross-endorsed the Republican nominee; the Working Families and Independence Parties cross-endorsed the Democratic nominee. The percentage that each party received in the special election was: Democratic 43.64%; Republican 42.73%; Conservative 7.04%; Independence 4.20%; Working Families 2.39%. The Conservative Party showing was unusually strong; that party had not polled as much as 7% in any U.S. House race in New York in November 2008, even in districts with no Republican nominee.

In November 2008, the percentage for each party had been: Democratic 57.43%; Republican 32.06%; Conservative 3.23%; Independence 2.57%; Working Families 4.70%. In November 2008 the Independence Party had cross-endorsed the Republican nominee.


  1. Morgan Brykein Morgan Brykein May 20, 2009

    Politicians of the major parties will always try to prune what they see as the weakest branch.

  2. Ross Levin Ross Levin May 20, 2009

    Also, Sundwall endorsed the Democrat, which could have effected enough votes to alter the result of the election. I guess one question is whether that will have any effect on policy.

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