Daily Archives: April 2, 2009

Israel 2009: Government!

Likud leader Benyamin Netanyahu has ended up by forming a markedly right-wing plethoric government of 30 cabinet ministers. The coalition is composed of Likud, the secular far-right Yisrael Beitenu, the Labor Party (despite saying on election night it wanted to go into the opposition. Power is just too good), and two religious parties- the Shas and Jewish Home. The government received the confidence of 69 out of the 120 MKs in the Knesset.

Netanyahu is Prime Minister, but there are, in addition, 2 Vice PMs and 4 Deputy PMs. In terms of cabinet spots, Likud has Communications, Culture, Negev and Galilee Development, Economic Strategy (Netanyahu), Education, Environment, Finance, “Improvement of Govt Services”, Information/Diaspora/Fight against Anti-Semitism, Intelligence, Pensioner Affairs (again, Bibi), Regional Dev’t, “Strategic Affairs”, Transportation, and 2 without portfolio. Labor gets Agriculture, Defense (Barak keeps his spot), Industry/Trade/Labour, Minorities, and Welfare. Yisrael Beitenu gets Foreign Affairs (Lieberman), Immigration, Internal Security, Infrastructure, and Tourism. Shas get Housing, Internal Affairs, Religion, and 1 without portfolio. Jewish Home gets Science. So, the top spots are split evenly: Finance for Likud, Defense for Labor, and Foreign Affairs for YB.

This coalition will be lucky to survive for over a year.

NY-20 2009

A special election (by-election, if thee prefers) was held in New York’s 20th congressional district last night. The by-election was snapped by the appointment by New York Governor David Paterson (D) of NY-20 Representative Kirsten Gillibrand (D) to the Senate seat vacated by the now-SoS Hillary Clinton (D). Gillibrand, a Blue Dog Dem (conservative Democrat) defeated Republican incumbent John Sweeny in a traditionally conservative and Republican district. However, NY-20 has been trending Democratic over the past few cycles. First, with Gillibrand’s 2006 election and huge re-election in 2008, but also with Obama’s victory in the district with 51% (54-46 for Bush in 2004).

NY-20 starts outside of Poughkeepsie and goes up all the way to Lake George/Mount Placid and the scenic Adirondacks in northern New York. NY-20 includes most of the residential Hudson River Valley, the Republican-leaning suburbia of Albany-Schenectady-Troy, Saratoga Springs, and rural areas in Greene, Delaware, and Ostego Counties. Here is a map of the district. As expected, NY-20 is whiteland, 93% white and 3.7% foreign born. Median HH income is $54,941, slightly above average. Few renters, largely white-collar but there is an important labour demographic.

The candidates in this election were Jim Tedisco, the Republican minority leader in the state Assembly who represents AD 110 (including Saratoga County) and Scott Murphy, a Democratic businessman. Eric Sundwall, a Libertarian, attempted to run, but failed to do so, citing, ironically “Stalinist election laws”. Tedisco had a bit of a shaky campaign, to say the least, and his significant poll lead turned into a narrow poll deficit in the last week. Noteworthy to note that Tedisco does not live in NY-20, but in NY-21.

With all 610 precincts reporting, but no absentee votes in yet, these be the results. It’s very close.

New York-20 (PVI R +3, 2004)
Scott Murphy (D) 77,217 / 50.01% (+25 votes)
Jim Tedisco (R) 77,192 / 49.99%

This race could last up to April 13, maybe even longer, depending on absentee ballots from out of the districts and abroad. It’s impossible to say how these will break. Military and senior absentees are Republican, but there could be a lot of ballots from uni students studying NYC but who live in the district, and those are Democrat. So, it’s hard to say. Quasi-impossible.

Another fun recount!

Anyways, here is a map of the district, done by rough 10% intervals and margin.


Compared to 2006 (53-47 D), Murphy did better than Gillibrand in Delaware (+3.74%), Essex (+1.75%), Warren (+1.92%), and Washington (+2.88%). The Democrats lost the most votes in Saratoga (-6.5%). Part of Saratoga is in Tedisco’s AD.