1777 was a dark year for the forces of American freedom. British forces were engaged in an elaborate strategy to capture the largest cities in the Colonies and divide and conquer the American rebels.
It all came to naught along the banks of the Hudson in what was probably the most decisive battle in the history of the Western Hemisphere--the Battle of Saratoga.
The Battle of Saratoga did not signal the demise of British resistance to American independence; but it ended any hopes the Crown had of a decisive victory on the battlefield to end the war.
The Republican Party faces a decisive battle on the same battlefield this spring. Kirsten Gillibrand's ascension to the U.S. Senate opens up her House seat. And the district is centered around---Saratoga.
I've attached the wikipedia article on the district. The district is a white, suburban/rural district. As the CQ profile indicates , it's heavily weighed towards married couples living in owner -occupied housing; with relatively little poverty or very wealthy voters. I would note that the district in by no means monolitihic, however, as it reaches from the far edge of the NYC TV market to deep in the Adirondacks.
Let's look at the geography: Dutchess, Columbia and Greene counties are in the Hudson Valley. This area was Gillibrand's home area, and has shifted left during recent years due to ex-pat NYC residents; it's really too far to commute from these towns to the northern suburbs, let alone Manhattan. Columbia County voted Kerry in 2004 , when Bush ran well in suburban NYC.
Delaware and Otsego counties are part of the Binghamton TV market. They are small and usually dependably Republican.
Warren, Washington and Essex counties are the "North Country". The Glens Falls area is a micropolitan area of a bit less than 100,000 residents with its own radio stations, daily newspaper, and local insitutions.; although the broadcast TV is from Albany. The North Country is reliably Republican, but outside Glens Falls, thinly populated.
The Albany suburbs are the linchpin of the district. Saratoga and Renssalaer counties are bedroom communitiies for Metro Albany. There is an academic/horse racing influence in Saratoga Springs (Skidmore College); but the larger community here is fast growing Clifton Park, which is soccer mom nirvana.
The presidential race numbers from 2008 were not encouraging, but McCain never competed in NY. Obama won every county besides Greene and Delaware; but his plurality in the other counties ranged from Columbia's 56% to Washington's 49.5% , In 2004 Bush also did not contest NY State, but won every county in the 20th besides Renssalear and Columbia.
A more accurate portrayal of partisan balance in this district was probably the 2000 Clinton/Lazio race. Hillary Clinton won statewide by 12 points, and ran very well in upstate NY, yet failed to achieve a plurality in any county within the 20th District besides Rensselaer. (and that is a bit deceptive; the strongest Democratic precincts in Rennselaer are in central Troy; which is and has been in the 21st District; I'm sure Lazio won the 20th District portion). The rest of the district yielded a 52% to 60% Lazio win.
The NY State Board of Elections shows the GOP has a 71,000 voter registration edge . So the Charlie Cook (R + 3) rating understates the potential GOP vote here; especially as virtually every state legislator representing this part of the state is a Republican.
We may have a plethora of candidates while the Democrats may need to import one from the adjoining district. This worries me, though. None of the GOP names (Treadwell, Little, Faso) are from the politically crucial county of Saratoga, where the GOP hasn;t recently matched its 30,000 vote registration edge with election day pluralities; and which will potentially be amenable to an Albany based interloper. Treadwell particularly strikes me in this failed model.
I would suggest that the NY Republicans look long and hard at a less partisan candidate from the district's political wheelhouse, who has a strong record fighting crime against women.
Whoever we pick,---and we'd better pick a winner-- we simply cannot lose this race. This is the House version of the Chambliss runoff.
We win the 2009 Battle of Saratoga and we are back on the path to victory.
We lose----well, there was another set of battles in this part of NY State a few decades before Saratoga.
The daily in Glens Falls, the Post-Star, is reporting that the Republican county chairmen for this district will meet Tuesday. A weighed voting system will be used to choose a nominee. No word on whether they will choose a candidate at this meeting; under NYS election law there is no primary for special elections, so it's boss rule
Treadwell has reportedly decided not to jump in as per the Post- Star . The present candidates are State Senator Betty Little; Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco, and former Assembly minority leader and 2006 gubernatorial candidate John Faso.