From The Wall Street Journal
Tea Party Power
In New York's 23rd Congressional District, Dede Scozzafava was chosen by the out-of-touch GOP establishment to defend a Republican seat in the U.S. House. She is a liberal state assemblywoman who was supposed to appeal to independents. She is now in a heated three-way contest with Democrat Bill Owens, and Doug Hoffman, who is a local accountant backed by tea-party activists.
Scozzafava supported Obama's stimulus plan and opposes the secret ballot for unions (she supports Card Check). Scozzafava’s husband is a leading upstate New York union organizer. The New York Conservative Party gave her a rating of 15 out of a possible 100 based on her votes in the NY state assembly. Scozzafava is at least as liberal on social issues as she is on fiscal issues.
Mr. Hoffman jumped into the race to fill the conservative void after he was passed over by the Republican establishment. He joined with the Conservative Party, which is well established in New York.
After growing up in Plattsburgh, Mr. Hoffman started a flourishing financial firm and branched out into other businesses. He opened a campaign headquarters on the site of a former gas station where he pumped gas as a 14-year-old.
New York's 23rd Congressional District, comprises roughly one-quarter of the area of New York State. The GOP has won in every election there since 1871. The district leans conservative, but Obama captured it with 52% of the vote.
As the only congressional election this fall, this race will have special significance as a political barometer.
The Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative group, has announced it's spending $250,000 — and may spend more — in support of Mr. Hoffman, depicting Mr. Owens, the Democrat in the race, and Ms. Scozzafava as equally contemptible liberals.
Markos Moulitsas (the uber liberal of Daily Kos fame) has declared Dede the most liberal candidate in the race. Democrats have spent $130,200 to run ads blasting Ms. Scozzafava for voting for "more taxes" 190 times.
Republicans, worried a winnable seat is slipping away, are scrambling. John Boehner, the House Minority leader, promised to support Ms. Scozzafava for a seat on the House Armed Services Committee. And today, Newt Gingrich endorsed Scozzafava.
The Latest Developments
Two weeks ago, the Siena poll had Scozzafava at 35%, Owens at 28%, and Hoffman at 16%. Now Scozzafava is down to 29%, Owens is up to 33%, and Hoffman has risen to 23%. In two short weeks, Scozzafava's lead over Hoffman has dropped from 19 points to 6 points. Scozzafava is running third among independents.
I have been steadfast in my opposition to conservative third party movements. Third party candidates have great potential to divide the conservative vote, and to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
This case is an exception. Conservatives need to support Doug Hoffman. He is a viable candidate who reflects the values of his district. His win would send an important message to the out-of touch GOP elite. And even if Hoffman loses and delivers a victory to the Democrat, a liberal pro-union Republican (the most dangerous candidate in the race), would go home empty handed.
Jeri Thompson: "Hoffman represents conservatives’ best chance to send a national message to the Republican Party that they are a force to be reckoned with, and that Hoffman appears to have the energy from the grassroots to pull off a win and help lay the groundwork for a successful 2010 election cycle. As one Hoffman supporter told me yesterday, ‘The feeling of momentum is palpable. The race is between Doug and the Democrat…we hope Dede won’t be a spoiler for conservatives in this race.’”
Bill Kristol: "It’s probably too late for the national and state Republicans to reverse their foolish initial blessing of Scozzafava — but surely they could at least stop attacking Hoffman...and give Hoffman a decent chance to win."
Via Memorandum, compiled from The Wall Street Journal, Michelle Malkin, RedState, & The Weekly Standard
Dede Scozzafava: endorsed by SEIU, the AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, ACORN, Markos Moulitsas and the GOP!
RSM: Conservative Doug Hoffman slams Scozzafava in guest-blog at Malkin
Scozzafava to Switch Parties? Would she pull a Specter?
RNC wades into New York special election
On Newt Gingrich’s Endorsement
The conservative movement has made NY-23, like the Florida Senate race, a Hill to Die On.