The race to fill newly appointed Sen. Kristen Gillibrand's open seat in the House of Representatives has become, in many ways, a reflection of the regional and ideological schisms confronting the Republican Party.
The GOP contender for the seat is James Tedisco, the minority leader of the New York State Assembly, who is hoping to become one of only a handful of northeast Republicans in Congress. But in his efforts to win the special election, he's been forced to walk a delicate tightrope: avoiding angering both Republicans and Democrats on President Obama's stimulus package.
To offer his backing, he acknowledges, would be to immediately rebuff the entire House GOP, who voted against the measure. To oppose the bill, however, would be to put himself at odds with the majority of his desired constituents, who, according to national Democrats, overwhelmingly favor the stimulus. According to data put out by the Obama White House, the New York district stands to save or create 7,700 jobs with this economic recovery package.
So, as documented in Tuesday's New York Times, Tedisco refuses to come down one way or another, even as his Democratic opponent, Scott Murphy, badgers him for the evasiveness.
Here is where you, the reader, come in. Help us figure out where Tedisco stands on the stimulus. Below are the phone numbers for his offices -- if you're in his district, call and ask: Would Jim Tedisco have voted for or against the stimulus package? After you've called, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you heard.
You can also help us get a better sense of how the 20th congressional district of New York can and will be affected by the stimulus. Send us stories about the economic landscape of upstate New York -- how are you being impacted by the downturn?
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