Republican Infighting In NY-23: GOP Identity Crisis
It’s a rural part of New York State, right next to Canada. There hasn’t been a Democrat elected there since the 19th Century. But moderate Republicans are so out of favor these days that a party split may put a Democrat in office.
For starters, there are three unorthodox candidates: A pro-choice, pro-gay-marriage, pro-union Republican; a registered independent running on the Democratic ticket; and a Conservative who doesn’t live in the district and may well win — or play the part of GOP spoiler and help elect a Democrat to a seat occupied by Republicans since the 1800s — despite skipping most chances to appear publicly with his opponents.
John McHugh, a moderate Republican, was elected eight times, but has been tapped to become President Obama’s Secretary of the Army, vacting the seat.
Bill Owens, an attorney with left of center views, was the choice of the Democrats (above, left), while Dede Scozzafava, a moderate state assemblywoman from the district, was the pick of the local GOP. Doug Hoffman, an accountant living over the district line in Lake Placid, then declared his own candidacy with the backing of the state’s Conservative Party leaders, who had opted not to endorse Scozzafava. Now, Scozzafava has the support of the official GOP party establishment — including House Minority Leader John Boehner and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele — while Hoffman has garnered endorsements from other prominent Republicans (and probable 2012 GOP presidential candidates) like Sarah Palin and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, as well as conservative former U.S. senators like Rick Santorum and Fred Thompson. Hoffman is also a favorite of talk-show host Glenn Beck and tea-party activists across the country.
And Scozzafava is being portrayed as a leftist, which is a far cry from her ideology.
True, Scozzafava supports abortion rights, gay marriage and the pro-union legislation known as Card Check. But she’s also endorsed by the National Rifle Association, supported the Bush tax cuts, and opposes to much of Obama’s health care plan.
But Scozzafava’s candidacy is in trouble, while Hoffman is gaining ground, even though he isn’t from the district and doesn’t have a grasp of local issues.
In an interview with the editorial board of my old employer, the Watertown Daily Times, Hoffman was asked about a new super-highway that had been proposed years ago for the district but needs federal funding. No opinion. Where did he stand on the controversial idea of dredging the St. Lawrence River, which forms the district’s border with Canada? No comment. A subsequent editorial in the Times described Hoffman as “flustered and ill-at-ease” and said he “showed no grasp of the bread-and-butter issues pertinent to district residents.” It didn’t help that Hoffman brought along former House Majority Leader (and staunch conservative) Dick Armey with him to the editorial board meeting — Armey called the local issues “parochial” and said the editorial board ambushed his candidate.
So, may the best Democrat win.Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2009 Liberaland