Scozzafava Struggles for Conservative Support in NY23
Those two factors alone would likely have been enough to send Ms. Malkin to the barricades, but Dede Scozzafava has committed the additional sin of having previously been aligned with the Working Families Party (WFP). People not familiar with the local lay of the land tend to mistakenly label the WFP as a socialist organization, though it’s far from it by any reasonable measure. The New York branch has, in the past, endorsed Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and New York Conservatives, along with their own slate of candidates in local races. They are about as independent as they come and draw a small but significant base of support in the upstate region.
Beyond Dede’s lack of social conservative bona fides, this race was complicated even further by the decision of the NRCC to dip a toe in this already boiling pool and support her over Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman. This has proven to be a particularly stinging bee in the bonnet of many conservatives, including William Kristol. These complaints bear a striking resemblance to the internecine warfare currently taking place in Florida between the national GOP-anointed Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio. In each case, conservative ire is directed at party leadership which endorses a moderate over the potential local selection of a more fire-breathing conservative.
But what if the RNCC is simply more interested in winning?
Despite the various bits of crowing over some recent Siena polls which show Hoffman doing better than we might have expected, the reality on the ground hasn’t changed here. Just as the WFP isn’t actually the Mao-loving, socialist haven many pundits would like to imagine, the New York Conservative Party is not a real powerhouse in Empire State politics. They typically align with the GOP, albeit sullenly, because they have historically been unable to elect their own candidates above the county level. When they do run their own way they prove to be nothing but spoilers, which is exactly what they may line up to do this November.
Hoffman seems to be filling the role of Chris Dagget in New Jersey, where Rasmussen is hinting that he may yet hand a victory to Jon Corzine, who really should have had no chance of getting within smelling distance of Chris Christie. If his current numbers hold and he keeps attracting the national attention (and dollars) of angry conservatives, yet another New York congressional seat could transfer over to the Democrats in what has historically been a safe GOP seat. And this comes at a time when the N.Y. Republican delegation has shrunk to a number which can be counted on one hand and Pete King may well be redistricted out of a job following the next census.
You may not care much for Dede if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, but she would still caucus with the Republicans. This may be a time for a little less anger and a bit more concern over how many seats you would like to pick up in 2010. Would you really rather see a Democrat in that chair? Then again, judging by the antics in Florida and the hyperventilating of the chattering class, perhaps you would.