The two major political party candidates running in New York’s 26th congressional district special election participated in a debate in Rochester, New York Wednesday evening.
Republican State Assembly woman Jane Corwin squared off against Erie County Clerk Democrat Kathy Hochul in an hour-long debate that focused on jobs, taxes, the deficit and Medicare.
To create jobs, Corwin (R) said she would vote in Congress to reduce taxes and remove regulations. She called for the repeal of the health care bill and would alter Medicare for people under 55 years old.
Hochul (D) repeatedly referenced Corwin's support of the budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan. She also said she would reduce the deficit by increasing taxes on people making more than $500,000 per year, reforming entitlements and cutting defense spending.
A Public Policy Polling survey released May 9th showed Hochul with 35 percent of the vote. The other two candidates are splitting the conservative vote. Corwin polled at 31 percent and Davis at 24 percent.
The race is drawing the attention of both national parties. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) campaigned for Corwin in this district earlier this month, and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) campaigned with Hochul this past weekend.
Congressional campaign committees as well as outside groups have invested money in the race. According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spent over $266,000 on the race so far. The National Republican Congressional Committee has spent almost $425,000.
The 26th congressional district is located in western New York and includes the Buffalo suburbs and the cities of Albion, Batavia & Lockport. 2008 Republican Presidential Candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) won this district with 52 percent of the vote. The Tea Party endorsed candidate Jack Davis did not participate in this debate. He ran for this House seat three previous times as a Democrat.
The special election will be held May 24th to fill the vacancy of former Republican Rep. Chris Lee, who resigned from the U.S. House on February 9th after he was caught soliciting women on Craig’s List.