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Dem Hopes in the Empire State

Picking up on Jay's post below, the New York Times has a surprisingly frank assessment of the Dems' fading hopes of House seat pick ups in the Empire State this year:

just a few months ago, Democrats envisioned significant gains in New York, perhaps picking up as many as four seats, possibly even five. But that goal now seems increasingly remote, and there is an emerging consensus among political analysts that the party's best chance for capturing a Republican seat is the battle to succeed Representative Sherwood L. Boehlert, one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress, who is retiring.

The Times article, written by Ray Hernandez, looks at NY-20 in some detail, pointing out that the DCCC hasn't stepped in and devoted resources to the race, though Moveon.org has been active running ads against Sweeney. But despite some glaring mistakes which Jay touches on below, Sweeney has managed to maintain a solid lead in this race. Hernandez writes:

The Sweeney-Gillibrand race shows how Republicans have deliberately focused on local circumstances and personalities rather than on national issues, at a time when President Bush continues to show weakness in the polls around the country.

For example, one advertisement that the Sweeney campaign began airing in June talks about the congressman's "humble roots" in Troy, a blue-collar city in the district, and describes his father "as a union guy who worked three jobs." Fittingly, the advertisement is called "The Kid From Troy," and it concludes that Mr. Sweeney's rise to Congress is nothing short of a "New York story about America's promise."

Ms. Gillibrand, whose campaign released a poll showing Mr. Sweeney ahead by a smaller margin, sought to play down the significance of polls showing her far behind and predicted that the Democrats' campaign committee would begin funneling resources into her race as she closed in on Mr. Sweeney.

Gillibrand's poll, conducted by Global Strategies has Sweeney up 8. This race will probably tighten in the end, but as the Times reports, Dems are a lot less hopeful about this race than they were eight weeks ago.