Ditching the popular spin on the right that third party challenger Jack Davis cost Republicans the NY-26 race, conservative Super PAC American Crossroads warned its supporters on Tuesday that the election is a “wake-up” call for the right.
“Republican Jane Corwin gave it her all in a very tough special election today,” spokesman Jonathan Collegio said in a statement. “The debate over whether Medicare mattered more than a third-party candidate who split the Republican vote is mostly a partisan Rorschach Test. What is clear is that this election is a wake-up call for anyone who thinks that 2012 will be just like 2010. It’s going to be a tougher environment, Democrats will be more competitive, and we need to play at the top of our game to win big next year.”
American Crossroads spent close to $700,000 backing Corwin in NY-26 against Davis and the winner, Democrat Kathy Hochul. Collegio’s emphasis on the challenge for the right is a far cry from his statement only a day earlier placing the blame for the then-expected loss on Davis.
“This race is competitive because a phony Tea Party candidate is spending millions of dollars purposefully confusing voters in an attempt to split the Republican vote,” Collegio said then. “I’m not sure what the overarching meaning is there, other than that some older men are willing to spend vast amounts of treasure pursuing inexplicable ends.”
The giant shift in tone appears to reflect Davis’ weak performance in the final results, which indicated that Democrats could have won the race in a head to head contest despite the district’s history as a Republican stronghold.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.