The New York Times reported Monday that New York 20th Congressional District candidate Jim Tedisco refuses to say how he would have voted on the $787 billion federal stimulus bill, giving his opponent, Scott Murphy, some political ammunition for their race.
The two men are vying for the U.S. House of Representatives seat recently vacated by New York’s newest U.S. senator, Kristen Gillibrand. Murphy is a Democratic newcomer, while Tedisco is the Republican minority leader of the New York State Assembly, which places the latter man in a tough position.
If Tedisco backs the stimulus bill, he would take a position contrary to every Republican in the House. Remember, the House version of the stimulus bill didn’t get a single Republican vote. However, Democrats say their polling shows an overwhelming amount of support for the stimulus bill in the 20th Congressional District. If their polling is accurate and Tedisco doesn’t endorse the stimulus bill, he risks alienating enough voters to lose the March 31 special election.
While Tedisco refuses to take a stand on the issue, Murphy continues to hammer away on him about it.
“I’m really curious what my opponent is going to do, because he can’t seem to decide whether he’s in favor or opposed,” Murphy said. “In times like this, we need leaders. And leaders have to make decisions.”
It seems Murphy may have found an issue that resonates with voters. Tedisco wants to be a U.S. representative, but doesn’t want to weigh in on the most important issue of the day? That’s unacceptable.
Instead of being a political wimp, Tedisco needs to take a stand and live with the consequences. Otherwise he will seem wishy-washy — and probably hand the election to Murphy.