Since 2009, Democrat Bill Owens has won three close races in a competitive upstate New York congressional district, but it seems he doesn't like what he's seeing in 2014. On Tuesday, Owens announced that he will not seek reelection, which is good news for Republican candidate Elise Stefanik.
Stefanik recently told THE WEEKLY STANDARD's Michael Warren that Obamacare has become a huge liability for Owens:
Stefanik says nearly 90 percent of questions she receives from voters at town halls these days concern their uncertainty about the status of their health insurance under Obamacare. In St. Lawrence County, one of the most reliably Democratic in the district, people took the microphone one after another to tell their personal stories. “Each one would say, ‘This is what I was paying, this is what I’m paying now,’ ” Stefanik says.
In 2009, Owens defeated conservative Doug Hoffman and liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava in a wild three-way special election. During the Republican wave of 2010, Owens eked out a victory by 1 percentage point, and he won by less than 2 points in 2012.
Upon Owens's announcement today that he was retiring, the Cook Political Report immediately moved the race from the "leans Democrat" column to the "toss-up" column.