A lot of volunteers today at Republican congressional candidate Jim Tedisco's campaign headquarters in Halfmoon, which is a sign they may have a good ground game on Election Day (March 31). They're going to need one. Democratic candidate Scott Murphy's union allies have been doing robocalls and mailers, and might provide some volunteers, too.
Tedisco said he hopes both campaigns will run positive ads from now on, but was unwilling to say the NRCC should pull its negative ones, instead criticizing the McCain-Feingold law which prevents candidates from coordinating with outside groups. The campaign thinks the NRCC will run negative ads no matter what, because that's what they do, so Tedisco doesn't want to get into a public fight with them. But maybe the NRCC will stop running ads with its dumbest and most obnoxious theme about how it is supposedly a scandal that Murphy (a venture capitalist) created jobs in India. Their latest attack ad does not mention that, instead returning to the issue of executive bonuses. But it's still a theme of trying to depict Murphy as a bad guy, when a more promising, because true, approach would be to call him a novice who would owe his election to the Democratic establishment in Washington, and hence would be under pressure to be a reliable vote for their agenda. The Tedisco campaign's locally controlled, positive TV ads have not been as good as Murphy's, but the real shocker is how bad the NRCC ads have been. The campaign says it has been doing better in the southern part of the district, where it has kept running positive ads along with the NRCC's negative ones. The Siena poll crosstabs bear that out, but even there (in Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Greene and Otsego counties) the Tedisco ads have alienated more voters than they've attracted, just not by as big a margin as in the center and north of the district, where they had stopped running positive ads.
The campaign is still grappling with the crucial economic issue. Tedisco needs to come across as someone with a proven record of accomplishment and sound, independent judgement, willing to support stimulus measures but with legitimate concerns about piling on trillions in debt by permanently expanding government. He has to move beyond combativeness and talking points to convince people he will examine proposals on the merits and support sensible policies to benefit the farms, businesses, local governments and people of the district.