We have met both candidates running in Tuesday's special election to fill the 20th Congressional District seat vacated by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand when she entered the Senate.

Democrat Scott Murphy and Republican Jim Tedisco visited with The Daily Star's editorial board and answered an array of questions.

We are happy to report that contrary to campaign literature and other advertising by both parties, neither Murphy nor Tedisco is the boogyman.

You would never know it from all the invective, but both appear to be decent guys.

Tedisco, for instance, has been endorsed by the U.S. Humane Society Legislative Fund for his work in the state Legislature supporting Buster's Law, which increased the penalty for cruelty to animals.

Anyone who cares that much for pets just has to be a good person.

As for Murphy, he makes it a point to have Sunday dinner with 57 relatives nearly every weekend.

Hey, family values are important.

The GOP has been trounced in two consecutive elections, and new party chairman Richard Steele has a lot riding on Tedisco prevailing in this Republican-leaning district.

Conversely, in a district won twice by Gillibrand, the Democrats dearly want to burnish the mandate they perceive from the 2006 and 2008 elections.

We should ignore the silliness of Tedisco's repeated attempts to link Murphy to the AIG bonuses, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's nonsense connecting Tedisco with "a convicted felon."

Strictly on the issues, The Daily Star endorses Scott Murphy.

While we are concerned about Murphy's lack of political experience, Tedisco's unfamiliarity with some local issues after many years in the Legislature bothers us more.

Murphy seems to know little about NYRI's attempts to create an upstate power line to benefit New York City, but _ unlike Tedisco _ he at least knew that NYRI stands for New York Regional Interconnect.

We are also bothered that Tedisco indicated his votes on social issues such as abortion and stem cell research would be determined _ rather than guided _ by his particular branch of Christianity.

But mostly, this election comes down to this. Murphy supports President Barack Obama's efforts to revive the economy, and Tedisco opposes them.

If we elect Murphy, he will be a solid vote in the House of Representatives for what Obama is trying to accomplish.

Tedisco would not. The country needs solutions, and another vote to essentially do nothing won't solve our problems.

We urge our 20th District readers to send Scott Murphy to Congress.

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