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20th Congressional district race heats up

Tedisco is making an effort to connect with those voters in his "Road to Recovery" tour, as he darts across the district to stump in diners, businesses, fire stations and farms. He's also taking the campaign digital with his Internet-based "$20 for NY-20" fundraiser that kicked off over the President's Day weekend, in which supporters were asked to donate a Jackson to his efforts.

"There's been a terrific response, and we're going to be continuing to do more with the blogger community and the online community," said campaign spokesman Joshua Fitzpatrick. By using the 'Net, Tedisco is drawing on donations from across the country, he added.

Also looking to tap into the Internet is third party candidate Eric Sundwall, an IT consultant from Niverville who is the state Libertarian Party chairman, who is already blogging, on Facebook and issuing statements via YouTube. Using technology to his advantage might be vital to acquiring 3,500 voter signatures in just 12 days to make the ballot, a task he freely admits will be a significant challenge.

Gov. David Paterson's delay in announcing the election date to fill Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's former seat has worked to Sundwall's advantage, giving him time to organize his petitioning efforts. His campaign is working with the group Free and Equal Elections Foundation, which works to put independent and third-party candidates on ballots across the nation. He's also been working with the Libertarian Party.

"Between the two efforts, we feel we have a reasonable plan to pull off close to 4,500 and 5,000 signatures," said Sundwall. "Right now, we're focusing all our resources on the petition drive."

Like Murphy, Sundwall has never held an elected office, but he did take a stab at the 20th in 2006 (but didn't have enough signatures to get on the ballot). His father served on the Kinderhook Town Board for eight years. And as host and producer of the cable access political commentary program "Capital Outsider," Sundwall argues he might have less of a name recognition problem than Murphy.

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