Republican Rift in New York

October 26th, 2009

NYCandidatesNovember 3, 2009 is a vitally important day in American politics — it’s the day the voters in New York’s 23rd Congressional District will decide between three candidates vying to replace Congressman John McHugh, who was tagged to become the new Secretary of the Army in the Obama Pentagon.

Why is this election so important? Here are the main reasons: It’s the only congressional race this fall; it will test the strength of the Democratic party’s base in the midst of Obama’s declining popularity; and perhaps the most interesting aspect of this race, it features a rebellion against the mainstream Republican Party by conservative Republicans.

The Democratic candidate is Bill Owens, a lifelong Independent who claims he was so inspired by Barack Obama that he became a Democrat. He has raised more campaign money than either (or possibly both) of his opponents because the Democratic party is fully behind him, and all of the traditional Democratic funding sources are in full swing. The district is primarily populated by liberal voters and, because of that, it’s a good possibility that he will, in the end, win the race.

The Republican Party, considering they were not in conservative-leaning territory, decided to be pragmatic and throw their support behind Dede Scozzafava, a well-known (in the area) moderate-to-liberal Republican. What they didn’t foresee was a severe backlash by the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Conservative Republicans have felt for some time that the Republican Party has drifted too far to the center — that the Republican Party has been hijacked by moderates who don’t support conservative values. Then, when the party gave the spot on the ticket to a moderate with liberal values such as Dede Scozzafava, the outrage was tangible.

The Conservative Party candidate is Doug Hoffman, a rock-solid conservative who has, because of the GOP selection of Scozzafava, become a “rock star” in conservative circles. Because of conservative discontent over Scozzafava and over the direction the Republican Party is moving, Doug Hoffman has gained growing support from important Republicans both in and out of politics:

According to an article in the Christian Science Monitor (linked below),

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former Senator Rick Santorum, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, current Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann, former Tennessee Senator and presidential candidate Fred Thompson, and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes have all backed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over Republican Dede Scozzafava.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a potential presidential candidate in 2012, suggested Friday on ABC News that he’s strongly considering backing Hoffman, as well.

Conservative talk radio has also loudly spoken out in favor of Hoffman over the Republican candidate Scozzafava. Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, and Ingraham are just a few of the many radio personalities who are chastising the Republican party for backing a liberal over a conservative and are actively raising campaign funds for Hoffman. Naturally, internet blogs are speaking out for or against the candidates in this race, but Hoffman has gained “troops on the ground” since the rift began. The people who were active at tea parties across the nation are volunteering in droves to canvas the district for their favorite candidate: Doug Hoffman.

News Links:

Campaign News, North Country Public Radio
Republicans Going Rogue in Upstate New York, Christian Science Monitor

Blog Posts:

Video: Gingrich answers Hoffman supporter at book signing, Hot Air
Doug Hoffman Sarah Palin: Palins Hoffman Endorsement: (video), Maggie’s Notebook

(This article was also posted at My View from the Center.)

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One Response to “Republican Rift in New York”

  1. Tom |

    It’s going to be interesting to see how this race turns out. Along with the governors’ elections in Virginia and New Jersey, we may be seeing the beginnings of realignments. Republicans fed up with RINOs and looking for real conservatives, Democrats finding that Obama’s coattails have shortened significantly in the last year and now they may be on their own. Or maybe not. One thing for sure, 2010 is going to be a fun election cycle.

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