New York Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.), who is married to Buffalo U.S. Attorney Bill Hochul, lost her congressional seat Tuesday.
Hochul owed her unlikely election to Congress in a 2011 special election to a scandal that caused her predecessor to resign, as well as Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) much maligned Medicare restructuring plan. Hochul repeated Democratic talking points that she intended to vote against the measure that would “end Medicare as we know it.” Her win in the heavily GOP district was heralded nationally as a sign that the Democrats’ attacks on the Ryan plan were effective.
But after the 27th district was redrawn, she faced an even more uphill battle in an even more Republican-leaning area.
Republican challenger Chris Collins received 51 percent of the vote Tuesday, compared with Hochul’s 49 percent, according to CNN. During the campaign, Collins, a former Erie County Executive, frequently linked Hochul to President Barack Obama, who is unpopular in the district, according to a report by the Buffalo News. Hochul conceded to Collins early Wednesday morning.
“I encouraged him to work across the aisle and offered to assist him in any way I can,” Hochul told the Buffalo News. “I also volunteered to help him make a smooth transition in January to ensure our constituents are well served. Congress can do better, and the people of this country deserve better than what Washington has given them.”
Hochul was one of only 17 Democrats to break rank with her party during the contempt of Congress vote against Attorney General Eric Holder in June. The measure passed in the Republican-majority House, and many of the Democrats who voted for it were located in Republican-leaning districts. The vote put her in the awkward position of voting to sanction her husband’s boss. Bill Hochul, a longtime federal prosecutor, was appointed to the U.S. Attorney post in 2009. The contempt vote was a major flare up in the ongoing congressional inquiry into botched gun-walking operation Fast and Furious.
The Buffalo News noted Hochul’s attempts at distancing herself from Obama, focusing on her “independence” in voting against some of his policies.