There is a battle going on in rural Northern New York. A nasty and expensive campaign between two State Assemblymen, Republican William Barclay and Democrat Darrel Aubertine, has generated significant statewide interest. The two are looking to fill the seat vacated by former State Senator James Wright. So why the interest in a race that for years was a virtual blip on the political map? Because the balance of power in New York state politics potentially hangs in the balance.
The New York Times wrote, "The 48th Senate District, in the upper reaches of the state, almost irrelevant in state politics for so long, has become the Fort Sumter of a multimillion-dollar war between Democrats, led by Gov. Eliot Spitzer, and Republicans, for control of the Senate. Indeed, voters in this icy swath of hinterland along Lake Ontario, including Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties, will have a big say over whether a balance of power shifts in Albany for the first time in 40 years."
From Sunday's Albany Times Union: "The opening shot in the battle for the state Senate begins Tuesday in the snowy, sparsely populated North Country, where state party money, hordes of volunteers and attack ads have transformed the steady drumbeat of local issues into a spectacle of knock-down, drag-out Empire State politics."
From Thursday's New York Sun: "In a quirk of politics that is startling even by Empire State standards, a band of irate fishermen who live almost 300 miles from New York City may play a pivotal role in determining the fate of the state Senate."
Obviously with the amount of money, resources and bodies being poured into this area, both Republicans and Democrats view this race as crucial to their respective efforts. With Election Day less than 24 hours away, a single race with statewide implications will have political eyes watching closely.