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Maddow Blog | Why Democrats’ latest special election victory is adding to GOP headaches

When Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins After he resigned to become president of Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, his party was relatively optimistic about holding on to his New York district. As NBC News reported, the results of the special election for Congress to fill the vacancy suggest Democrats’ optimism was well-founded.

This was not a case of the GOP nominating an unelectable candidate. Rather, Dickson was the first Republican in 50 years to be elected city supervisor in the Buffalo suburb of West Seneca.

Nevertheless, the results were lopsided: According to a Buffalo News report, Kennedy, who significantly outraised his Republican rival, defeated Dickson by about 37 points.

At first glance, the outcome may not seem to have much impact on the national landscape. In a reliably Democratic district, voters replaced a former Democratic member with a Democratic state senator. The Republicans didn’t make much of an effort to even enter the contest.

But on Capitol Hill, the results of the race in New York’s 26th District are complicating the legislative arithmetic for the beleaguered Republican majority conference in the House of Representatives.

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When Republican Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin recently resigned, the Republican majority in the House dropped to just 217 members. This left Republican leaders with a one-vote margin: if Democrats remained united, Republican measures would fail on each ballot if just two members of the party broke ranks.

However, last week, Democratic Representative Donald Payne Jr. died unexpectedly. of New Jersey, increasing the number of vacancies and lowering the threshold for passing legislation in the House of Representatives to 215. Or put another way, in light of Payne’s death, Republicans’ majority margin went from one to two.

The results of the Buffalo-area special election change that arithmetic: After Kennedy is sworn in, Republican leaders will once again find their margin in the House back to just one vote.

This article was originally published on MSNBC.com

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