We have been hearing a lot about the implications of the special election March 31 for the 20th Congressional District seat Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand gave up to enter the Senate.

New Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said upon his narrow election to the post that his first priority would be the GOP taking back the seat.

Steele would then appear to have a lot at stake in seeing his candidate, James Tedisco, win in this normally Republican-leaning district.

As far as the Democrats are concerned, Gov. David Paterson caught a lot of heat from downstate members of his party for selecting Gillibrand to replace Hillary Clinton after she said she would resign her Senate seat to become secretary of state.

Gillibrand is regarded by her critics as being too conservative and a relative unknown who could lose the seat for the Democrats in 2010.

Paterson trailed New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, 55-to-23 percent, in a recent Quinnipiac University survey.

Unless Scott Murphy is able to defeat Tedisco next month, Paterson will be blamed for costing his party what would have been a fairly safe seat had Gillibrand remained the incumbent.

Those are the major national and state ramifications. But we believe that too little has been made of the little fact that whoever gets elected will be representing our local interests.

Voters know precious little about both candidates. Tedisco is the Assembly minority leader, which, because of the way New York state government is structured, gives him little power.

Still, given that our state's Legislature has long been justly regarded as one of the most dysfunctional deliberative bodies in America, Tedisco might not want to make his experience there the cornerstone of his campaign.

Perhaps Tedisco is best-known for being on the receiving end of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's arrogant and profane threat upon taking office.

"I'm a [expletive] steamroller, and I will destroy you," said the now-disgraced governor to Tedisco.

As for Murphy, if locals have been paying attention, about all they will know is that he's a venture capitalist running for his first public office and that he's got some tax problems linked to a start-up computer software company he owned more than a decade ago.

What we would like to see is where both candidates stand on the issues important to local residents.

Three debates have been scheduled, but none so far in Delaware or Otsego counties. We would hope that citizens here will also be able to see the candidates together before the election.

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