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Democrat Tim Kennedy Wins Key Special Election

Another “Team Blue” Congressional Special Election Win—Congratulations Tim Kennedy! May 12, 2024

       The national media continues to trash and berate Joe Biden and argue that he and his Democrats are in political “trouble.” In what world do they live? On April 30, 2024, while far too many of the media were fixated on the pro-Palestinian rioters on college campuses,  Democrats, once again, won a special election. In that contest, they overperformed Biden’s 2020 victory totals. This time, New York Democrat Tim Kennedy clobbered Republican Gary Dickson in the 26th NY Congressional District by more than 36 percentage points, much larger than pundits and political analysts had expected. The Cook Political Report, an independent newsletter that analyzes elections and campaigns, had expected Kennedy to win by just 9 percentage points. This special election had been called because 10th-term Democratic NY Congressmember Brian Higgins had retired in November, 2023 (, 5/01/24,, Mahoney, Bill, 4/30/24). With 94% of the votes counted, Kennedy had 46,527 votes to Dickson’s 21, 685 (, 5/01/24). Everyone who follows politics had expected the NY 26th, which includes Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Tonawanda, North Tonawanda and Lackawanna, and has a current Cook PVI (Partisan Voting Index) of D+9 to stay in the Democratic column. They were, however, “blown away” by the “Team Blue” performance for Kennedy. Biden took this Democratic area by a “mere” 27% margin—62%-35% in 2020.

       Tim Kennedy (47) an Irish Catholic native of Buffalo, NY, the same city from which “Meet the Press’s” the late Tim Russert hailed, was raised in South Buffalo, in a family of five children. Kennedy’s father worked as Buffalo’s commissioner of assessment and taxation, while his mother, a retired nurse, teaches nursing at D’Youville College (, Tim Kennedy received his elementary and secondary education at Catholic schools and earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s in occupational therapy from D’Youville College. From 1999-2010, Kennedy worked as a licensed occupational therapist at Catholic Health (,

         Kennedy started his political career when he joined the Erie County Legislature in 2004. His name has been repeatedly mentioned over the years as a possible candidate for NY Lieutenant Governor or Buffalo mayor. Kennedy is a seven-term NY state senator and has served in Albany since 2011. In Albany, Kennedy led an important legislative committee on transportation and supported a tough package of gun safety measures after a racist shooter killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket in 2022. He has a reputation as a strong fundraiser. He outspent his GOP congressional rival by the crushing margin of 47:1 (, Fandos, 4/30/24). On the NY Senate transportation committee, Kennedy focused on getting infrastructure funding and reforming limousine safety regulations after a 2018 crash outside Albany. Sean Ryan, who represents a neighboring NY state Senate seat stated that as “soon as you met him (Kennedy), you knew the guy had a plan and that he was going somewhere (, Mahoney, 4/30/24).”

        Kennedy is expected to provide a reliably liberal vote. He campaigned on the Democratic platform of promising to fight for federal infrastructure dollars for a region that has struggled economically, for federal abortion rights, and against GOP presidential nominee Demagogue Donald (, Fandos, 4/30/24). His state senate record clearly demonstrates that he is in the mainstream of Democratic politics. And, like President Biden, he has been a vocal supporter of labor unions, especially blue- collar ones that are strong in his district. Like Higgins, the Representative he will be replacing, Kennedy hails from a heavily Irish pocket of South Buffalo where people identify where they live based on their Catholic parish. State Senator Sean Ryan noted that once in D.C., “Kennedy’s going to let people from Congress know that someone from Buffalo is in the House (, Mahoney).”

     Since retiring Cong. Higgins won this seat in 2004, the 26th has been a safe “Blue” seat. Kennedy will need to run in the June, 2024 NY primary and for a full two-year term in November (, Mahoney, 4/30/24). In a recent interview, Kennedy stated that his front-running campaign is a good indicator of what happens when a “Democrat with a record of delivering results for the community” runs against a Republican “who is supporting a failed former president who’s not only indicted but is on trial (, Mahoney, 4/30/24).”  Get it? Democrats deliver results, and running against a failed Donald now facing the law will be a key theme for Kennedy and most Democrats in November, 2024. In addition, Kennedy has no trouble being an abortion rights advocate in a strong Catholic district. Kennedy added, “This race is about the future of our country, and I believe every race at the congressional level across America this November is going to be the same. This is a prelude to what we should expect to see in November (, Mahoney).” Exactly.

        Although this was a special election and Kennedy will have to run later, this race will have immediate consequences in D.C. Once Mr. Kennedy is seated, House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) margin will effectively shrink to just a single or 1 vote on partisan issues. Speaker Johnson is also facing a rebellion on his extreme right flank.  A handful of special elections in Wisconsin, Ohio, Colorado, and California are expected to give GOPers more seats, but not until this summer (, Fandos, 4/30/24). Again, ALL elections count. In November, 2024, if Democrats turn out in droves to re-elect President Biden, flip four “Red” GOP House seats “Blue,” and add to our Senate total, we will be able to govern more effectively in Washington. We will then have President Biden, House Speaker Hakeem Jeffries, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at the helm of state. Once again, congratulations, Tim Kennedy!  



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