Bill Clinton and Chris Christie endorse in NY-26 race

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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In the final 24 hours before voters go to the polls in New York’s special election, two big names have thrown their weight into the race: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former president Bill Clinton. Christie formally endorsed Republican Jane Corwin and recorded a robo-call for her; Clinton did the same for the Democratic candidate Kathy Hochul.

According to two polls released this weekend, Hochul has a narrow lead in the race over Corwin.

“Jane Corwin is a fighter who knows how to get things done,” Christie says in the call. “We’re in critical times for our country, and Washington needs standup leaders who will fight to control spending and change business as usual.”

Clinton, in his call for Hochul, hits on the Medicare issue, which a weekend poll showed was the issue at the forefront of a plurality of voters’ minds.

“I’m calling to ask you to support Kathy Hochul for Congress in the Special Election tomorrow, May 24th, because she’ll protect Medicare and create jobs for hard-working Western New York families. Just as she’s done in Erie County, Kathy Hochul will fight to cut wasteful spending in Washington. You can count on Kathy to say no to partisan politics that would end Medicare as we know it to pay for more tax cuts for multi-millionaires,” says Clinton in the call.

The endorsements, which come at the eleventh hour, could be too little too late, according to one New York-based Republican consultant.

This close to the election, the consultant said, “most people seem to have decided already who they are voting for … And the people who will be influenced by Christie were probably already voting for Jane.” Similarly, “those who support [Clinton] are probably already voting for Hochul.”

“Having Christie make a robo-call is good, but the endorsement seems to be lost in all of the noise,” the consultant emailed, noting that at this point, there’s “not enough time for a mail piece or a TV commercial.”

Moreover, the consultant said, “The volume of calls and door knocking, on both sides, is starting to stifle turn out.” Both campaigns have run a large number of ads in recent weeks, as have several outside groups that have jumped into the race.