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Boehner downplays Medicare's role in N.Y. special election

May 26, 2011|By Lisa Mascaro
(David Duprey/AP )

House Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday that the GOP proposal to revamp Medicare played a role in the New York congressional election this week, but offered a reminder that special elections are just that -- unusual, unscheduled events.

In offering a quick analysis of the results that gave Democrat Kathy Hochul the open seat long held by a Republican, Boehner said that special elections are not necessarily precursors for the national political mood ahead.

“You know, special elections are just that. They're special,” Boehner said.

“Look at what happened in this election, you had a third-party candidate just spend nearly $3 million attacking the Republican candidate. And I could be somewhat critical of how the campaign was run, but the fact is we didn't win,” Boehner said. “And part of -- a small part of the reason we didn't win clearly had to do with Medicare.”

Hochul, the Erie County clerk, won a three-way race in New York’s 26th Congressional District upstate this week, beating Republican state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin and wealthy "tea party" candidate Jack Davis.

The race was widely watched as an early test of the GOP’s Medicare plan, which would revamp the popular healthcare program for the next generation of seniors by giving them a set sum to buy health insurance on the private market rather than ensuring government-provided coverage.

lmascaro@tribune.com

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