New York 26: Moved to More Vulnerable Category

April 29, 2011 · 4:25 PM EDT

With less than a month to go before Election Day, the special election in New York’s 26th District is not a foregone conclusion.

GOP insiders acknowledge (and a new public poll shows) that state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (R) has a small lead over Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul (D) in the race to fill the seat vacated by GOP Cong. Chris Lee.

The race in the western New York district is complicated by the third-party candidacy of wealthy businessman Jack Davis, a former Democrat who is running as a self-proclaimed Tea Party candidate.

Republicans are cautiously optimistic that the fundamentals of the district will work to Corwin’s advantage. But Davis, who has higher name ID than either of the major party nominees, appears to be getting anywhere from one-fifth to one-quarter of the vote. While he is drawing Republican, Democratic, and Independent voters now, Corwin and her allies are expected to attack Davis in the near future to remind voters that he was a Democrat, thereby helping them bring some GOP voters “back home.”

The election will be held on Tuesday, May 24, a week before Memorial Day weekend. The three-way race creates a bit of uncertainty, but Corwin still has the edge, even if the race is still competitive. Move from Republican Favored to Lean Republican.