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With one win, state reps see mandate for the middle

But Kimmel drew less than 20 percent of the vote and Duprey easily won reelection.

"I think that we have got to get a bigger tent. I think that my campaign, on a statewide basis, says we can step outside of what was once considered sacred ground for the Republican Party," she said. "I have always been pro choice. I voted for the dignity for all students act. How can you not say you can't be bullying children for any reason at any time in our school system?"

The region's Tea Party was not directly involved in Kimmel's bid because it is not registered with the state Board of Elections, though he did attend many of the group's meetings.

UNYTEA chairman Mark Barie said the organization was a force in the congressional race.

"During the course of the campaign, it was pretty clear that Mr. Owens was moving to the right. He was airing commercials that bragged about voting with Republicans 63 percent of the time, he openly admitted the health care bill was defective and he talked out loud about voting against the federal spending cap," he said. "I don't think he was moving the right to energize his base, I think he was moving to the right to shut up the Tea Party folks."

While parroting the mantra of smaller government, the roots of the conservative revolt are actually couched in social issues. Duprey, Sayward and Scozzafava have continually opposed ever-increasing state budgets, but angered the right with their support of gay marriage and moderate stances on abortion.

But in so doing, they have also picked up considerable support from centrist independents and moderate Democrats.

Sayward said Thursday she's felt vulnerable to attacks from the right for the last year. Sayward said she's shocked she too didn't face a challenger from the social right.

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