In one of the biggest election surprises of the year, Ann Marie Buerkle is officially the winner in New York’s 25th congressional district. Ms. Buerkle was ahead by some 800 votes on Election Day, and after several thousand absentee ballots were finally counted her lead held up. Ms. Buerkle is a nurse and mother of six who had never sought political office. She knocked off Dan Maffei, a life long politician and a protégé of scandal-plagued Charlie Rangel.
“Almost no one saw this one coming,” said GOP pollster John McLaughlin. “Ann Marie was definitely below the radar screen of most political experts.”
One person who never saw it coming was Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, who had championed Mr. Maffei as the kind of new liberal Democrat America needs and the Northeast wants. “Absent a Republican wave of historic proportions, his seat now seems out of the GOP’s reach,” wrote Mr. Dionne back in September.
Ms. Buerkle, whose district includes Syracuse in upstate New York, will join more than 80 other freshman lawmakers. This class is dominated by men and women who, like Ms. Buerkle, have experience outside of law and politics. Her message throughout the campaign stuck a chord with many upstate New Yorkers: “Taxes and regulations are so high in New York that my kids have to leave here to find a job,” she said. “That’s why I decided to run.”