NY-26: Heads you win, tails we lose

The special congressional election in western New York’s 26th district is down to the final few days and, as we previously predicted, it’s turning out to be a mess. Republican Jane Corwin is fighting a two front battle in the traditionally GOP heavy district. Democrat Kathy Hochul is attacking from one side, trying to pin Corwin’s ears back by tying her to the “Paul Ryan is going to destroy Medicare” meme. On the other front, fake Tea Party candidate Jack Davis is siphoning off votes from voters who haven’t been following the news. No matter how this nail biter turns out, Roll Call concludes that it’s almost a no-win situation for the GOP.

Republican strategists are now praying that they never, ever have another special election in New York state.

First they failed to win a 2009 special election to take back Democrat Kirsten’s Gillibrand’s open seat (which they won back last year). Then, later that year, they lost the open seat in New York’s 23rd district, which had been represented by Republican John McHugh.

And now, with the special election in New York’s 26th district just five days away, Democrat Kathy Hochul has at least an even-money chance of swiping a seat Democrats never figured they could win.

The problem for Republicans is that even if GOP Assemblywoman Jane Corwin comes back to win the special election in a district that was Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) best in the state — a district he carried by 6 points over Barack Obama — nobody will care.

While depressing, they make a fair point. If Corwin prevails on Tuesday, the general response will likely be, “Oh, that’s nice. You managed to carry an R+7 district. Yawn.” But if they lose, this race will become the Democrats’ poster child advertisement about how the “Republican wave is over” and “Paul Ryan has doomed the GOP for 2012.”

Plus, the GOP still hold a very substantial majority in the House. One seat more or less isn’t going to make tsunami level headlines. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort. As a final reminder, all of the money pouring into the race can do a lot, but nothing replaces good old fashioned GOTV boots on the ground in the last five days. If you know anyone in or near the 26th, it might be a good time to get hold of them, hook them up with the Corwin campaign, and give them something to occupy their time this weekend. (At least until they get Raptured.)

MORE: Hot Air friend Kerry Picket of the Washington Times has an up close and personal interview with Corwin on the state of the race and her conservative positions.