Referendum on Medicare? Democrat Wins Special Election in GOP-Leaning NY-26

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The advertisements for Corwin especially helped pull some votes away from third party candidate Jack Davis, those close to the election said, although whether it would be enough to secure Hochul a victory remains to be seen.

The race also had national implications because it exposed the divisiveness and relative lack of coordination within the Tea Party movement. The biggest Tea Party group in the area, TEA New York, endorsed Corwin, but not all Tea Party activists were on board, which sends a warning sign to Washington that they will not back candidates based on party affiliation alone.

Davis, a self-proclaimed Tea Party candidate, added an extra dimension of complication for Republicans. Although he previously ran thrice for the House seat as a Democrat, the millionaire has adopted the Tea Party agenda and managed to pull several small conservative groups to his side.

Davis' message of job-creation and manufacturing in the depression-struck district has hit a chord.

"We don't support Republicans. We don't support Democrats," said Roy Scherrer, a volunteer with the Tea Party Coalition of Western New York, a small conservative group made up of about 30 to 45 volunteers. "If Mickey Mouse was running for office against a Republican and a Democrat, I would vote for Mickey Mouse."

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