President Obama released a statement tonight praising Democrat Kathy Hochul for her surprise victory in the NY-26 House race.
The White House released a statement congratulating Hochul,
“I want to extend my congratulations to Congresswoman-elect Kathy Hochul for her victory in New York’s 26th Congressional District. Kathy and I both believe that we need to create jobs, grow our economy, and reduce the deficit in order to outcompete other nations and win the future. Kathy has shown, through her victory and throughout her career, that she will fight for the families and businesses in western New York, and I look forward to working with her when she gets to Washington.”
Having learned from getting too involved in previous special elections, Obama kept his distance from NY-26. According to The Hill, “Democratic nominee Kathy Hochul has gotten help from top House Democrats including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), who have raised money and sent staff to help get out the vote in the final days before Tuesday’s election. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has campaigned for Hochul, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) will be in Buffalo on Saturday to rally her supporters.”
Bill Clinton recorded a robocall for Hochul. Almost every big name Democrat was helping in this race, but not the biggest one of all. Obama stayed away, and he helped Hochul by not nationalizing the special election any more than it already was. The worst thing that Obama could have done would have been to take the focus off the Medicare issue and put it on himself.
Just as the President did the right thing by not getting involved in Wisconsin, he was smart to stay out of NY-26. The push back against Scott Walker and the national movement that it has inspired along with the Republican plan to privatize Medicare are about something bigger than Obama.
The President was wise to stay away. You can bet that this victory matters not only to the White House, but to all Democrats as we head into 2012.