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New York State Election Carries National Implications

A special election was held in New York state Tuesday to fill the state legislative seat vacated by now-U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg explains the national implications of the race.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    When Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, it set off a political chain reaction. Kirsten Gillibrand became the junior senator from New York, and the fight for her old congressional seat has now become a test case for President Obama's economic policies.

    Voters went to the polls in New York today. Joining us to explain the national implications of this local race is Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the Rothenberg Political Report.

    Welcome, Stu.

  • STUART ROTHENBERG, Rothenberg Political Report:

    Thanks, Gwen.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    So let's get this straight. The Republican is Jim Tedisco.

  • STUART ROTHENBERG:

    Right.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The Democrat is Scott Murphy. And why do we care?

  • STUART ROTHENBERG:

    Well, there are a number of reasons we care. In part, the race has become a referendum on jobs and the stimulus package, and President Obama has been brought into this race.

    But more than that, in terms of the outcome, if the Republicans lose this special election, I think they will be further depressed, further concerned about their future prospects, and Democrats will be further emboldened.

    So to some extent, the race is about what it's about. Is it about the candidates? Is it about President Obama and jobs? But part of this is also about the future. How do the parties exit this special election as they point towards 2009 elections and 2010?

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