Yesterday evening, I spoke with Andy Roth, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Club for Growth, about the special election in NY-23 and the PAC’s support of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over Dede Scozzafava, the GOP candidate.
As I’ve previously noted at UL, Scozzafava has been criticized by conservatives for her support on various fiscal and labor issues, such as her votes for higher taxes (which the DCCC has made an issue) and card-check.
Chris Choccola, a former GOP Representative and now President of the Club for Growth, penned an editorial for the Washington Examiner highlighting Scozzafava’s record on these issues.
Roth tells us that the Club’s PAC has spent close to $1 million in this race and have run three ads (you can see them here, here and here). He also points out that they aren’t running on a budget for this race.
During the race last fall in NY-23, I wrote about the anger from conservatives directed at former House Speaker Newt Gingrich over his endorsement of Dede Scozzafava.
If you’ll recall, Scozzafava was/is a statist on economic issues, supporting card-check, the “stimulus” bill and tax hikes, among other troubling positions. This led many conservatives to endorse Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman. Gingrich, however, stood his ground, continuing to back the same candidate as Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos.
Now Gingrich tells us that he learned a lesson from NY-23:
“She turned out to be a huge disappointment, and she turned out not to be frankly a loyal Republican,” Gingrich told an interviewer in New Hampshire this weekend.
The former speaker added that conservatives who criticized his endorsement at the time “had the better of that argument.”
Gingrich said he didn’t realize how “radical” Scozzafava was when he endorsed her. Conservatives lambasted her for supporting gay marriage and card check, among other liberal positions.
The Watertown Daily Times is reporting that Bill Owens has a lead in the absentee ballots and cannot be defeated with the remaining votes to be counted.
But this is not before some nasty voter fraud involving planting a virus in some voting machines. Needless to say this needs to be investigated and prosecuted, but do you have any faith in the Obama DOJ doing so?
As Marcus noted last week, there was an outside shot that NY-23 may flip due to outstanding absentee ballots that hadn’t been counted. Bill Owens (D), who has been sworn and cast his first vote in favor of ObamaCare, led Doug Hoffman (C) by just over 3,000 votes.
Tonight we’re learning that Hoffman will “unconcede” the race, despite acknowledging that it’s a long shot for him to pull off the upset. He would have to win 65% of outstanding absentee ballots.
Good luck, but yeah, it’s a long shot.
There is news from New York indicating that Bill Owens may lose his seat in the House after the correction of an error in the Oswego county returns added about 1,200 votes to Doug Hoffman’s vote total.
Owens now leads by 3,026 votes, 66,698 to 63,672.
It is believed there are a sufficient amount of uncounted absentee ballots (approximately 10,000 were sent out) that could still affect the outcome of this race. New York election law states that absentee ballots received by November 16th and postmarked by November 2nd will count in this special election.
Roger L. Simon thinks so:
[W]hy – in what was clearly a Republican year – did Hoffman lose? Well, there are several reasons and, yes, the Democratic victory was narrow, thinner than the five or so percent that went to withdrawn Republican nominee Scozzafava who herself endorsed the Democratic candidate. Still, the 23rd is a safely Republican, even conservative, district. In a year where the GOP racked up a 20% margin in Virginia and coasted easily in Jersey, a state in which Obama romped in ‘08 by 16%, what was the problem?
Well… I might as well say it… social conservatism. America is a fiscally conservative country – now perhaps more than ever, and with much justification – but not a socially conservative one. No, I don’t mean to say it’s socially liberal. It’s not. It’s socially laissez-faire (just as its mostly fiscally laissez-faire). Whether we’re pro-choice, pro-life or whatever we are, most of us want the government out of our bedrooms, just as we want it out of our wallets.
Hoffman’s capital-C Conservative campaign, however, tried to separate itself from the majority parties by making a big deal of the social issues. He was all upset that Scozzafava was pro-gay marriage, seemingly as upset as he was with her support for the stimulus plan. He projected the image of a bluenose in a world that increasingly doesn’t want to hear about these things. Hoffman’s is a selective vision of the nanny state – you can nanny about some things but not about others. I suspect America deeply dislikes nannying about anything.
On the eve of Election Day, Conservative Doug Hoffman has opened up a five point lead over Democrat Bill Owens in the race for the 23rd Congressional District. Republican Assembly member Dede Scozzafava still gets six percent support, but since her decision to suspend her campaign and support Owens, the number of undecided voters has doubled from nine percent to 18 percent, according to a new Siena (College) Research Institute poll of likely voters.
”Hoffman continues to demonstrate momentum, picking up six points since Scozzafava pulled out,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg. “It appears, however, that the majority of Scozzafava’s supporters have gone to neither Hoffman nor Owens, but rather into the undecided column, which has doubled since Scozzafava ended her candidacy.”
“With nearly one in five voters undecided the day before Election Day and voters still trying to comprehend the dramatic withdrawal of Scozzafava, and her subsequent endorsement of Owens, this is still a wide open race,” Greenberg said. “The two candidates and campaigns are both in a sprint to try and convince these undecided voters to support them. Which ever campaign succeeds in convincing the undecided voters and then getting them to the polls tomorrow, will likely be looking at a victory tomorrow night.”
Despite early reports that Dede Scozzafava would endorse Doug Hoffman in NY-23, the Watertown Daily Times, a paper in the district, is reporting that she is supporting Democratic Party candidate Bill Owens:
Since announcing the suspension of my campaign, I have thought long and hard about what is best for the people of this District, and how to answer your questions. This is not a decision that I have made lightly. You know me, and throughout my career, I have been always been an independent voice for the people I represent. I have stood for our honest principles, and a truthful discussion of the issues, even when it cost me personally and politically. Since beginning my campaign, I have told you that this election is not about me; it’s about the people of this District. It is in this spirit that I am writing to let you know I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same. Yesterday’s polling by Siena indictates that 64% of Scozzafava voters indentify themselves as Republicans (19% are Democrats and 17% are independents). So, as the NRCC and Republican establishment is getting behind Hoffman, it seems that momentum is still in his corner. It’s not a sure thing for Hoffman, there is a very real chance he may lose. His campaign knows they can’t take it easy at this point. I still would give Hoffman a slight edge at this point, but we’ll see.
Since announcing the suspension of my campaign, I have thought long and hard about what is best for the people of this District, and how to answer your questions. This is not a decision that I have made lightly.
You know me, and throughout my career, I have been always been an independent voice for the people I represent. I have stood for our honest principles, and a truthful discussion of the issues, even when it cost me personally and politically. Since beginning my campaign, I have told you that this election is not about me; it’s about the people of this District.
It is in this spirit that I am writing to let you know I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same.
Yesterday’s polling by Siena indictates that 64% of Scozzafava voters indentify themselves as Republicans (19% are Democrats and 17% are independents). So, as the NRCC and Republican establishment is getting behind Hoffman, it seems that momentum is still in his corner.
It’s not a sure thing for Hoffman, there is a very real chance he may lose. His campaign knows they can’t take it easy at this point.
I still would give Hoffman a slight edge at this point, but we’ll see.
In a surprising development, Dede Scozzafava, the Republican endorsed candidate, has dropped out of the race in NY-23:
Dede Scozzafava, the Republican and Independence parties candidate, announced Saturday that she is suspending her campaign for the 23rd Congressional District and releasing all her supporters.
The state Assemblywoman has not thrown her support to either Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate, or Bill Owens, the Democratic candidate.
“Today, I again seek to act for the good of our community,” Ms. Scozzafava wrote in a letter to friends and supporters. “It is increasingly clear that pressure is mounting on many of my supporters to shift their support. Consequently, I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so. I am and have always been a proud Republican. It is my hope that with my actions today, my party will emerge stronger and our district and our nation can take an important step towards restoring the enduring strength and economic prosperity that has defined us for generations.”
Scozzafava pointed to another poll in the race showing her in last place while Bill Owens, the Democratic candidate, and Doug Hoffman, the Conservative nominee, are in a statistical tie. She also said her funding had dried up and would not be able to catch up, not to mention the rumors that the NRCC was cutting their losses and pulling out of the district.
Robert Stacy McCain, who has been covering the race from the district, writes that Scozzafava will endorse Doug Hoffman.
“What I find extremely disturbing is that now that it’s clear that Hoffman is in the lead, Newt is not backing down, he’s digging in and he’s spreading the idea that Dede is the only one who can win. And that’s now hurting us. It’s not only hurting us, it’s helping the Democrat. So now his own words are coming back to bite him and I think the best thing he could do right now is to just be quiet.” - Andy Roth
Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman has a clear shot to win next week’s New York special election and is within one point of the lead, according to the latest Daily Kos poll out today.
The poll shows Democrat Bill Owens holding a tiny one-point lead over Hoffman, 33 to 32 percent, with Republican Dede Scozzafava lagging behind in third with 21 percent of the vote. It’s clear Hoffman is gaining momentum – in the Daily Kos survey of the race last week, Hoffman was still in third place, trailing Owens 35 to 23 percent (with Scozzafava at 30 percent).
in fact, both Owens and Scozzafava have lost ground since last week’s survey, while Hoffman has been gaining steam.