January 2009: Gillibrand is appointed to the U.S. Senate to fill the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton. This results in a special election to fill the seat in NY-20. The contest is between NY Assemblyman and Minority Leader Jim Tedisco and a relatively unknown Democrat, venture capitalist Scott Murphy. Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele describes the contest to take back the seat and restore Republican dominance in NY-20 as a "battle royale." House Majority Leader John Boehner says “This election ... is a giant opportunity for us to let America know that America is on our side.” TheHill.com reports that "Eighty-two Republican House members wrote checks for Tedisco, leading a NRCC spokesman to brag, “This is not only an indication of Jim Tedisco’s strength as a candidate, it’s proof that members are invested in our overall plans to fight back to the majority.”
February 17th, 2009: The RNC spends $80,000 on a new television spot supporting Tedisco.
March 2, 2009: Tedisco runs negative ads that paint Murphy as "the poster boy for everything that's wrong with Wall Street."
March 17, 2009: RNC sends more cash to NY-20. After weeks of refusing to say whether or not he would support the Obama stimulus package, Tedisco comes out against it.
March 27th, 2009: pollsters announce that Tedisco has managed to turn a 12 point lead into a 4 point deficit in a matter of four weeks, even though Republicans outnumber Democrats by over 70,000 registered voters in the district. The poll also notes that Tedisco's campaign was considered "more negative" by a 44-25 percent margin.
April 14, 2009: a close election results in a number of legal challenges, including Tedisco's campaign challenging the legality of Gillibrand's ballot.
April 24: Republican candidate Jim Tedisco concedes the race.
Again, The Hill.com: "The RNC spent $280,000 compared to $10,000 from the Democratic National Committee, and the NRCC invested $871,681 to the DCCC’s $591,591. Outside forces favoring Tedisco dumped $2.06 million into the race, compared to just $1.23 million from pro-Murphy groups. And Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, among others, lent their fundraising heft to their party’s candidate."
Bets on how long Mr. Steele will remain Chairman? Bets on how many Republicans will insist that what went wrong is that they weren't conservative enough, weren't negative enough, and didn't spend enough money on attack ads?
It's not working, geniuses. Try something else.