Connecticut’s new GOP state chairman, Jerry Labriola Jr., is urging Republicans here to man the phone banks for Bob Turner in tomorrow’s special election to succeed disgraced U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner in a solidly Democratic district that is tilting Republican, if recent polling is to be believed.

No travel is required.

“With your help, we can assure a Republican victory for the first time in over 80 years in New York’s 9th District,” Labriola says in an email. “Without leaving your home, you can make a difference by calling voters to get our message out. See the instructions below to learn how to make calls for Republican Bob Turner from home.”

The reality of modern campaigning is that anyone with web access can do telephone canvassing from their home. By logging into a campaign web site, volunteers can access voter numbers, call them and enter their responses in a data base. The info is used to turn out the vote on election day.

The push by Labriola also is a reminder that special elections loom large, at least temporarily, in the psyche of political parties. In May, Democrats reveled over the upset win by Kathy Hochul over Republican Jane Corwinto fill a congressional vacancy in western New York.

The upset was attributed to the GOP’s willingness to consider Medicare cuts to help reduce the deficit.

As reported by USA Today, Steve Israel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said the New York election shows Medicare will be a key issue going into next year’s campaign. “I’m not going to get cocky,” he said. “The fact is if we can win in one of most conservative Republican districts in America, then we can win in many other places.”

“To predict the future based on the results of this unusual race is naive and risky,” said Pete Sessions, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

If Turner wins tomorow, look for Israel and Sessions to borrow each other’s quotes from May.

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Mark PazniokasCapitol Bureau Chief

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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