(NEW YORK) -- New York's 26th district, where a special election is being held for a House of Representatives seat, has become the battleground for the Republican budget plan and Medicare proposal that could have significant implications for 2012.
In a surprisingly tight election, GOP candidate Jane Corwin is finding herself in a tight three-way race with Democratic Erie County official Kathy Hochul and businessman Jack Davis, who is running as a Tea Party candidate.
The race was supposed to be an easy one for Corwin. The district, in western New York State between Buffalo and Rochester, is heavily Republican. Only three Democrats have won in this area in the last century, with the last one leaving office eight years ago.
But Hochul's campaign has aggressively targeted Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal that reshapes Medicare and was passed by the House last month. Her campaign has also portrayed Corwin as a Republican insider who would help, in effect, bring an end to Medicare.
In a district where seniors make up 15 percent of the population, the message has struck a chord.
Even Donald Trump, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, said Ryan's Medicare program was to blame for Corwin's troubles.
Hochul is also helped by the independent candidacy of Davis, who has run several times before as a Democrat but has now moved to the Tea Party.
A survey by the Siena Research Institute in late April showed Corwin winning the race with 36 percent of the vote, with Hochul getting 31 percent and Davis 23 percent. Though recent data has been sketchy, analysts say the race is tightening.
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