“In my 31 years living in Plattsburg, this is the first time that the Democrats have a realistic chance to win a Congressional seat,” he said. Schantz doesn’t attribute that solely to the divided conservative ticket. “If you look at presidential votes, you'd see the pro-Democratic trend for almost 20 years. I think its part of the larger dynamic where the South moves towards the Republicans and the Northeast moves towards the Democrats.”
Dr. Michael Ruddy, a political science professor from SUNY-Oswego, said the same thing.
“When you dissect the [Republican] politics, it has a progressive look to it,” said Ruddy. “There is an undercurrent of ‘closet progressivism’ up this way. When you cut through these partisan facades, you'll find it.”
So, depending on your vantage point, the race could demonstrate a variety of things: a moderate GOP establishment out of touch with conservative constituents, Republicans demonstrating their latent liberal tendencies, or an entrenched political system that doesn’t reflect any of the district’s political realities.
No matter what your politics, it’s impossible not to see the race as just more evidence of “what happens” when a longstanding incumbent leaves his seat and entrenched political parties fight like dogs over the new unmarked territory. There have been only 4 Congressmen in the district since the election of 1940.
Ron Seyb, Associate Professor of government at Sidmore College, said that the entire process was unique no matter what it represented – and that there was more drama to come even in the last few days leading up to the election.
“For the Republican candidate to be threatened at all is just extraordinary. This is going to be something we could’ve never predicted two weeks ago,” said Seyb. “The dynamics of this race are fairly nascent at this point.”