NY 20 : Our 21st Century Saratoga

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.   

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Any particular issues this candidate should run on? You're after planning strategy.  Issues are supposed to be a part of the strategy.

Being opposed to Albany status quo politics?

Given the recent history of both Democratic and Republican office holders in recent years.

In addition, a strong background in business is a plus here given the chronically slow economy   

By the way, geography is an issue; voters in Clifton Park are unlikely to think someone from faraway Lake Placid "gets" traffic on the Northway.



Do or Die

Go for it!!  Are you going to be the Tories, or the Whig sympathizers??  Joking, joking.

But remember that the Revolutionary War wasn't settled until many years after Saratoga: 1781, in fact, when Cornwallis surrendered to Washington at Yorktown in Virginia, hundreds of leag and a world apart from Saratoga.  Washington's Continental Army succeeded in their war of liberation by the grace of God, and Napoleon Bonaparte, and many unlikely confluences.

It's true Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga, but he was leading a pittance of an army, less than 5k men.  By way of contrast, at the battle of Waterloo a couple decades later, Wellington fought Napoleon's Grande Armée with 75,000 men.

JD, you fight the army they send

Burgoyne had the largest British army at the time, and the only one that was deployed on the field of battle; for some unknown reason the Brits in NYC and Philly garrisoned the cities and chose not to move into the hinterland.

But much as you couldn't get to the end of WW II without El Alamein or Midway;  the Continentals wouldn've have made it to Yorktown had Gates been run off this field of battle.  


No, Burgoyne's Army was only the smaller Northern British portion: Generals Howe and Clinton had sizable forces occupying New York and Philadelphia, and Burgoyne had received approval to try and join up with them in Albany.

I disagree completely that Saratoga compares with El Alamein and Midway in WWII.  Saratoga was a milestone for the Continentals, but it had little tactical or strategic effect on the years of battles and marches and campaigns, and especially the struggles for unity and political capital Washington and the Continentals faced in those early years.

As Obama so brilliantly recalled in his masterful Inaugural Address, after Saratoga, that 1777 Valley Forge Winter, the Continentals were badly supplied and hungry, and within one or maybe two battles with British Redcoats, Hessians and Cavalry of losing it all and being rounded up and hung like traitors.

It was only France's entry in early 1778, and the incomparable moral lift they got from naval support and the professionalism of Von Steuben that helped that Army regain its footing and fight on to Yorktown.


well, JD

that bad stuff wouda happened if Saratoga was lost, that woulda been the "one battle".

The inability of the Crown to properly coordinate Howe, Clinton and Burgoyne is an example of when one has superior forces, one still needs to figure how to use them effectively.

May Not Matter

It's most likely that this district will be broken up after 2010 redistricting because NY is due to lose House seats (perhaps more than one).  Even if a Republican wins, which is likely, they may have a short run in the House.

I enjoy reading these types of analyses though.

It does matter and the right guy could be around awhile

1. Winning this House seat (parts of which are about 80 miles from Times Square) is a prerequsite to sending a message thru the MSM the rout is over and we are back. A loss will reinforce the media meme "the GOP is now just a voice for disgruntled southerners".  The consequences here are huge for '10.

2. Yes, the Democrats will dismantle this seat in '12. Which is why an incumbent from Saratoga County is a huge plus for us; as he or she would be a credible opponent for Paul Tonko in the expanded Capitol District seat post re-map.


Re. that "failed model," it's

Re. that "failed model," it's conclusion was this: "We need to change the 'face'' of the party. The new face may have some folks who are moderates, or have no political background, or who are authentic conservative activists. But it can't be more old time insiders . . ."

Let me suggest that you broaden your vision of what that "new face" might look like. Specifically, I'm referring to the model described in a "Looking for renewal in the wrong places" post here. Look north and south for two exemplars who embody this new model - Palin (for sure) and Jindahl (I'm pretty sure).

Id love to say there's a Sarah in the NY North Country

but right now someone who wasn't a clueless Hackyderm would work for me

A few thoughts...

There are some parts of this district that are pretty close to my parents' country house.  I know some parts of this district reasonably well.

1) Love the Battle of Saratoga analogy.  Winning this race will force the drive by's to admit we're not dead.  That's good enough for now.

2) The incompetance of Republicans in New York State is matched only by their corruption.  Al D'Amato, George Pataki and Joe Bruno sold their souls to the same Unions that control the Democrat party and ruined what was once a reasonably competitive state party.  DO NOT underestimate their ability to screw this up. 

3) The politics of this selection make NO sense to me.  This move antagonizes the kook liberal base and the corrupt union thugs who run the Democrat Party without any significant political upside.  This almost guarantees a divisive primary that can only hurt the party, esp. if Andrew Cuomo gives Paterson a primary challenge.

I also don't buy the argument that he needed to pick someone from upstate.  That said, even if he wanted to do that, he should have picked someone from the Rochester area.

4) Greene County is home of that hidden treasure, Hunter Mountain.  I used to ski there and (even if my information is dated) know this area.  It's a mix of bitter clingers and middle class guido's with bad taste who own weekend homes in the area.

5) The NYC ex-pat phenomenon is very real in this part of the state.

More on Corrupt NYS GOPers

Joe Bruno is from this district

Saratoga County - 20 CD

Today Saratoga County endorsed Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco. He represents 51% of Saratoga County. I expect him to be endorsed by the a majority of the 10 GOP County Chairman in the 20th CD in the next few days. Also running were John Faso (ran for Governor against Elliott Spitzer in 2006), Betty Little (State Senator - Warren County) and Richard Wager (Dutchess County).Tedisco is going to prove to be an excellent candidate. People will love interviewing him. He is VERY good on his feet and will have great appeal to our constituency in the upcoming special election. Governor Patterson knows Tedisco well, and will know how formidable he is. This race has the potential to get national attention given the Hillary-Caroline-Gillibrand MSM soap opera and the fact that it will be the 1st Congressional election after the Obama – Congressional blowout for the Dems.Tedisco will not disappoint. 

Is Tedisco gonna get any grief about his place of residence?

although his assembly district runs all the way up NY 50, he lives in Schenectady, right?

He has had more face time on 6, 10 & 13 in recent years than the other aspirants, though.....I recall he was the point man on dismanting that Spitzer driver's license scam


No. The Dems may bring it up, but I don't believe residency will be an issue. He has lived with his wife in Saratoga Springs on Springs Street (2 blocks from me) for many years. Decision should be made by 10 County Chairs tomorrow. It's never over til it's over.