Democrat Kathy Hochul defeated Republican opponent Jane Corwin and independent tea-party candidate Jack Davis to win the House seat left vacant by Craigslist scandalizer Christopher Lee. Though NY-26 is traditionally a conservative district, Hochul won in large part because of Corwin’s support of Paul Ryan’s Medicare-overhaul bill, and many Republicans crossed party lines over the issue. “I have almost always voted the party line,” said Republican local Gloria Bolender. “This is the second time in my life I’ve voted against my party.” Republican Pat Gillick agreed. “The privatization of Medicare scares me,” he said. Corwin, who was expected to easily defeat Hochul just months ago, didn’t expect her opponent’s Medicare attacks. “When she started making these comments, I thought, ‘This is so outrageous no one would ever believe it.’ Apparently some people did.” The race is forcing Republicans to reconsider their health-care strategy. “It’s a Republican district with a solid Republican candidate,” said Representative Peter T. King, a Republican from Long Island. “What went wrong? We definitely have to determine the extent to which the Medicare issue hurt us.”
“I want to say at once that this would be a catastrophe for the region” that may stoke “a surge in violence and perhaps an increase in the number of refugees,” he said during his annual televised call-in show.