New York House race lays bare Republican infighting
Many national conservative figures are supporting the Conservative Party's Doug Hoffman in a New York special election. Republican Dede Scozzafava is seen as too liberal.
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The three-way race to fill New York’s 23rd congressional district seat – pitting a Republican, a Democrat, and a Conservative against one another – is too close to call.
But it’s conceivable the Republican – moderate Dede Scozzafava – could come in third, as national conservative figures like Sarah Palin and Fred Thompson (and Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh) have bucked the establishment and thrown their support behind the soft-spoken Conservative Party alternative, Doug Hoffman.
It’s also entirely possible the Democrat, lawyer Bill Owens, could eke out a victory amid the Republican infighting. He would be the first Democrat to win that district in 140 years.
The surest bet is that Ms. Scozzafava, a state assemblywoman, will not win. The Democrats have clearly come to that conclusion. Their latest attack ad just goes after Mr. Hoffman and ignores Scozzafava.
How could the Republican Party have avoided this fiasco? Contrary to popular belief, Scozzafava was not nominated in a primary. She was chosen, behind closed doors, by the GOP county chairs of that district, standard operating procedure for special House races in New York. The seat became vacant after President Obama tapped NY-23’s congressman, Republican John McHugh, to be Secretary of the Army.
Some Republicans believe the embarrassment of the party’s national food fight over NY-23 will spur the New York GOP to try to change the nominating process.
“If Hoffman beats Dede or the Democrat wins, you will see a major effort to change the nomination process in vacancies,” says John Gizzi, political editor of the conservative weekly, Human Events.