Republican Candidate pulls out of Congressional race
October 31, 2009 12:50 PM   Subscribe

The only open seat for Congress this election day, in New York's 23rd district, was shaping up to be an interesting 3-way race with possible implications for the future of the Republican party. But after today's Sienna poll showing Democratic Bill Owens leading in this traditionally Republican district, the Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava has announced she is suspending her campaign. Is the race now a shoe-in for Conservative Doug Hoffman, already endorsed by Pawlenty, Palin and others in the far-right of the party? Or will Dede's supporters, who were drawn to her her more moderate stance, simply stay home?
posted by saffry (156 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's definitely not NYwankfiltery. It's important because 1.) it demonstrates clearly the fight between factions within the Republican party (moderate/reasonable vs. conservative/moonbat) and how they feel the party should move forward after their stunning defeat in the 2008 elections, 2.) it may be thought of as a barometer for the 2010 elections and whether the Republicans can gain some ground against the Democrats, and 3.) it might be spun as a referendum on Obama/Democratic policies.
posted by MegoSteve at 1:04 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, if Palin endorsed him, he must be awesome! After all, she was nearly the President!
posted by blue_beetle at 1:09 PM on October 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Though, I should also mention, NY-23 is a Republican district and was a seat held by a Republican, so it's less about Republicans gaining ground than it is Republicans holding ground.
posted by MegoSteve at 1:10 PM on October 31, 2009


rokusan, it is an interesting race as it may presage how the GOP goes forward. They actually had a moderate on the ballot that was selected by the NY Republican party, but nationally the Rs are so committed to their God, Guns, and Gays stance the party will throw all pretense of fiscal policy and small government being their raison d'être in order to back Hoffman.

It's kind of like the dust before the storm, with a possible end point being a schism of the Republican party which, all politics aside, they desperately need. It'll hurt them a lot for many years, but like carving out cancer sometimes it's the only way to survive. LBJ and Humphrey did it for the Democrats back in the day with Civil Rights legislation and now the Republicans need to follow suit and kick out their most virulent racists, bigots and end-timers. The far right has a disproportionate amount of influence with the Republicans, this at a time when the country is moderating on many social issues, and becoming less and less white.

And actually a far right political party would probably mean the Democrats would lose a few of the "blue dog" members to a reconstituted Republican party, who I suspect are more traditional Republicans who can't stand the current Republican party.
posted by edgeways at 1:18 PM on October 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


Shorter rokusan, I didn't read the links, thus I am unaware of the background of this story, thus I'll dismissively carp.

In fact this is a big story, as (and the text of the FPP mentions this) Hoffman, who is not the Republican Party's nominee, has been endorsed by many Republican Party heavyweights and potential candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2012, while Scozzafava, the Republican nominee, was endorsed by former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

It's a big story, because the Scozzafava-Hoffman race has been very consciously adopted as a proxy for the fight for the future direction of the Republican Party, and now it looks like the immoderate Right Wing is winning. This is turn augers further splits in the Party, as it further marginalizes moderates, "Main Street" Republicans, and pro-choice Republicans -- and more importantly, those Republican-leaning "independent" swing voters who decide elections.

A moderate, fiscally conservative but liberal on social issues (abortion, gay rights) local Republican Party nominee in a Northeastern state was just forced out of an important bell-weather race by her Party's national and Southern/Western dominated right-wing, in favor of a third-party nominee with strong ideological convictions but little local knowledge or convictions.

This is the sort of thing that led to the breakup of the Whig Party (into Northern Whigs, Southern Whigs, the Free-Soil Party, the Constitutional Union Party, the Know-Nothing Party, and yes, the modern Republican Party). Whether or not the Scozzafava affair will lead to some similar dissolution of teh Republican Party we cannot yet know, but, yes, this is a big story and worthy of our attention.
posted by orthogonality at 1:18 PM on October 31, 2009 [23 favorites]


Has Scozzafava endorsed Hoffman?
posted by box at 1:21 PM on October 31, 2009


The Republican candidate is still on the ballot and many will simply vote straight ticket, consciously or not of her decision to dropout. That's a significant dead weight for the spoiler candidate who is now becoming the spoiled.
posted by Brian B. at 1:31 PM on October 31, 2009


Republican party splits in two at deadlocked 2012 convention. The hard right will walk out.
posted by R. Mutt at 1:34 PM on October 31, 2009


I lived up there for a few years, in Plattsburgh. Very, very Republican area. If it flops to Dem, that's big.
posted by jdfan at 1:37 PM on October 31, 2009


Personally, I do consider this newsworthy, because this is showing what's going on in the GOP at large. It seems that right now, the republican pundits are more for ideological purity than restoring their falling numbers. Their old trick has been to rally up the fringe, who can usually rope in some moderates with their scare tactics, but I don't think that works so well anymore. The fringe has gone so far right they're scaring away moderates, causing the fringe to go farther to the right.

This chart showing Fox News ratings by people who consider themselves Republicans says a lot.

The fact that the Republican elite would toss out a candidate who is conservative for her area but not for the nation says a lot. This is the kind of behavior I would expect from a third party, the kind of third party that wants to make a statement instead of gaining political power. They're not upset that they're messing up the campaign of the mainline GOP. They're upset that there is a moderate in their party. It's like how Milton Friedman hated Keynesians more than Communists, because the Keynesians were moderates who could gain power and pervert what should be a totally free market.

Granted, now that the GOP's candidate is suspending her campaign, it's hard to say what will happen.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:38 PM on October 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is the race now a shoe-in for Conservative Doug Hoffman, already endorsed by Pawlenty, Palin and others in the far-right of the party? Or will Dede's supporters, who were drawn to her her more moderate stance, simply stay home?

There's a third option, of course. Scozzafava's voters could go to the (similarly moderate) Democrat, rather that switching to the hard-right ideologue. Based on what I've been reading about this, though, it's really hard to say which direction they'll go....
posted by mr_roboto at 1:42 PM on October 31, 2009


But, yeah, it's hard to read this as anything other than a sign that the GOP is becoming a small-tent regional party.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:43 PM on October 31, 2009


Has Scozzafava endorsed Hoffman?

No, at least not yet (and probably not at all), I've heard some reasoned speculation that Scozzafava and family are much more likely to vote Owens than Hoffman.

I suspect Hoffman is going to win now, but will laugh quite a bit of Owens pulls it off, and that's it's too unlikely all things considered.
posted by edgeways at 1:44 PM on October 31, 2009


Box, she has released her supporters and said "It is my hope that with my actions today, my Party will emerge stronger", but she did not endorse either candidate. Which leaves "emerge stringer" open to multiple interpretations.

She also wrote "I am and have always been a proud Republican" and "On Election Day my name will appear on the ballot, but victory is unlikely. To those who support me -- and to those who choose not to -- I offer my sincerest thanks." To me the first is a slap at Hoffman (candidate of the Conservative Party), and the second suggests that she perhaps did this under some duress, or at least because, as sghe also wrote, "It is increasingly clear that pressure is mounting on many of my supporters to shift their support."

I.e, the national Republican Party is putting the squeeze on, threatening that if you stick with "pro-abortion" Dede, you might not be able to expect help form the Party in the future. In a Republican district, that's a kiss of death for both political operatives and influence-seekers. But getting your "acres" squeezed this way (to paraphrase the old story Tip O'Neill loved to tell) leaves a lot of bad blood, which explains the lack of endorsement by Dede and the implied invitation to use the secret ballot to vote for her anyway.
posted by orthogonality at 1:45 PM on October 31, 2009


misplaced "it's" = not
posted by edgeways at 1:46 PM on October 31, 2009


Has Scozzafava endorsed Hoffman?
No. She said that "I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so."

Here is her full statement (along with some commentary).
posted by Flunkie at 1:49 PM on October 31, 2009


Scozzafava's Supporters Like Obama, Dislike Hoffman and Owens

It's the economy (and jobs) stupid. If things get better, Democrats don't have much to worry about in 2010. If they don't, well...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:51 PM on October 31, 2009


an interesting data point from elsewhere
As they had already done in everything but name, the House campaign wing of the Republican Party (the NRCC) has endorsed Hoffman. This means that the Republican Party will have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a candidate whom they eventually undermined and ultimately supplanted.
posted by edgeways at 1:55 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Forgot to mention: Some pundits are actually holding a grudge against Newt Gingrich for endorsing Scozzafava. Here's Michelle Malkin pretty much accusing Gingrich of occasionally breaking the party line and associating with LIEbruls, and thus being unelectable in his 2012 bid for presidency, especially since he has now endorsed a radical socialist RINO.

You know it's bad when NEWT GINGRICH is too liberal for the American Right. The comments are also fun, if you like raising your blood pressure.

As a democrat, it's all very fun to watch from a distance. Especially since Newt did the We campaign ads mostly just so he could turn around and use the enviro-credit against reforms to stop global warming.

As with most things, the freakout and aftershocks are more exciting and interesting than the event itself.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:57 PM on October 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


This is how you do newsfilter, folks. Thorough, well written, a lot of interesting links and editorializing kept to a minimum. Nice job.
posted by empath at 2:02 PM on October 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure who I'm hoping will win here. If Owens wins it will be a great slap in the face of the Republican party for handling this so ineptly but if Hoffman wins, the Republicans will just go full-tilt tea-bagging nobama birther crazy which will be so much fun to watch. Beck and Limbaugh and Malkin and company will see this as a huge win for "true conservatism" and will be unstoppable in their quest to remake the Republican party in their own image. Read the comments in Politico; there are poster there who think that Huckabee is a RINO and not worthy of being called a conservative.
posted by octothorpe at 2:09 PM on October 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


[Couple early comments removed. If you have metacommentary and aren't reading the links, then do not pass go, go directly to Metatalk.]
posted by cortex at 2:14 PM on October 31, 2009


the Republicans will just go full-tilt tea-bagging nobama birther crazy

This prospect used to terrify me, but now I just find it entertaining to watch them flail around. Once the health care ordeal is over and done with, they have nothing left.

Gay marriage and gays in the military, maybe.
posted by empath at 2:20 PM on October 31, 2009


there are poster there who think that Huckabee is a RINO and not worthy of being called a conservative.

The only explanation I can think of for this is that he once, given the opportunity, pardoned Keith Richards, instead of seeking his extradition and imprisonment for destroying American culture with his devil's music.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:21 PM on October 31, 2009


They're mad that Huckabee didn't endorse anyone in the race while Palin endorsed Hoffman.
posted by octothorpe at 2:31 PM on October 31, 2009


the Republicans will just go full-tilt tea-bagging nobama birther crazy
This prospect used to terrify me, but now I just find it entertaining to watch them flail around. Once the health care ordeal is over and done with, they have nothing left.

Gay marriage and gays in the military, maybe.
Oh, don't worry, they've got plenty left to get themselves all worked up about. In addition to the gay rights issues that you mention, I believe I've read that the Obama administration has indicated that its next major push, after health care reform, will be immigration reform.

They'll go bonkers.

And that's just a couple things. There is no end to their outrage, even ignoring gay rights and immigration reform. It's just inchoate; "health care reform" and such are merely good excuses to put the rage forward.
posted by Flunkie at 2:37 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Is the race now a shoe-in ..."

Shoo-in, perhaps.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 2:44 PM on October 31, 2009


"A moderate, fiscally conservative but liberal on social issues (abortion, gay rights) local Republican Party nominee in a Northeastern state was just forced out of an important bell-weather race ..."

Bellwether.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 2:46 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, this would be the same GOP that spent the last few months of the 2008 election saying that Obama's disrespect for women and female voters was a clear indication of the need to support a female candidate for high office, correct?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:52 PM on October 31, 2009


I think it's telling that the moonbats needed to go to NY-20 to find their Carpetbagging Candidate for NY-23.
posted by mikelieman at 3:06 PM on October 31, 2009


"moonbat"? Are you fucking kidding?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 3:08 PM on October 31, 2009


the Republicans will just go full-tilt tea-bagging nobama birther crazy

They laughed at the Nazi brownshirts, once. We laugh at Republican fascists at our peril.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:10 PM on October 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


octothorpe: Read the comments in Politico; there are poster there who think that Huckabee is a RINO and not worthy of being called a conservative.

Sweet jeebus...
posted by imjustsaying at 3:23 PM on October 31, 2009


"moonbat"? Are you fucking kidding?

One person's Neocon is another's Trotskyite. It all depends on your historical perspective.
posted by mikelieman at 3:26 PM on October 31, 2009


They laughed at the Nazi brownshirts, once. We laugh at Republican fascists at our peril.

Having just read The House of Wittgenstein: A Family at War, I'd have to agree with you BP.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:27 PM on October 31, 2009


Ugh, immigration reform? I'm all for it (the current system is really screwed up), but when the right is forced to go full racist, things can get a little gross.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:29 PM on October 31, 2009


mikelieman, as far as I know, Hoffman is the only candidate from NY20(Adirondacks), which would make him a wingnut. Moonbat is the derisive right wing term for someone on the left.
posted by stavrogin at 3:36 PM on October 31, 2009


I thought "moonbat" was a term used near-exclusively to mock Democrats and other liberals.

Personally, I don't get why they don't just use wingnut to describe any political extremist blinded to intelligent debate. It's a term that works for both sides, and that makes inherent sense. "Wing" means left or right political ideology, and "nut" means insane. Simple, and a cute wordplay on a common piece of hardware.

Of course, that's not to say pointed insults are great, too. Teabagger, of course, is good fun. And you can use it without guilt, as the "tea party patriots" (I feel dirtier calling them "patriots") completely walked into it and got what it meant. When it first got started, they advertised that you should "teabag your senator/Obama" by mailing them teabags. It's obvious they knew what the term meant. Here's an article from NRO debating whether or not tea partiers should adopt "teabagger" as their "n-word." It's as confused and funny as it sounds.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:39 PM on October 31, 2009


>
The GOP has a tenuous relationship with women. After all, they're 50% of voters, but you also have to remind the men why they should NEVER EVER vote for Hillary Clinton. After all, she might sound like your mom or wife! Imagine how awful it would be if she were the boss of America, and you had to hear her on the radio ALL THE TIME!
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:52 PM on October 31, 2009


So which of these people is socially conservative, which ones are fiscally conservative, and which are just batshitinsane?
posted by five fresh fish at 3:53 PM on October 31, 2009


Heh - the Republican Party is now officially backing Hoffman, but only a month ago, the spokesman of the NRCC said:
Fortunately, the local Republican county chairs had the foresight to see that Doug Hoffman lacked the integrity and qualities needed to be elected to anything -- let alone Congress.
posted by Flunkie at 4:15 PM on October 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Now that the Right has discovered the One-State Strategy, all they need to do is multiply it by 50 & they can take back the country. Seriously, it's one thing to focus all your collective willpower & resources on a single race that nobody else is paying attention to. It's a horse of another color to pull it off in local, state & National elections going on in all 50 states at once. It's only after they've torn the Republican political machine to shreds with no idea how to put it back together that they'll discover what it was good for.
posted by scalefree at 4:54 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Absolutely right, scalefree. There's a reason Newt Gingrich endorsed Scozzafava: he's no moderate, but he's also not an idiot, and he understands how political parties operate. A Hoffman victory could be the worst possible thing that could happen to the GOP in the long run. If Sarah Palin weren't so lazy and stupid, I suspect she could mount a respectable (meaning Ross Perot-ish) third-party bid for the presidency as the Tea Party candidate.
posted by EarBucket at 5:02 PM on October 31, 2009


So people understand (not that anyone hasn't), this is New York's 23rd congressional district. It's so upstate, it's almost Pennsylvania (psychologically, not geographically). Rural gun-rights conservatives, where state and federal actions are seen as inroads and not services.

Usually the sacrificial Democrat gets around 1/3 of the vote; some years, there isn't even a Democrat running. This isn't even the first time a Conservative Party candidate has run, and the last time there was a three-way race, the incumbent Republican won with 60% of the vote, with the Conservative taking another 20% for second place.

Anyway, a moderate may have seemed the smart choice from Albany, but this district has a more pronounced lean than its 52% edge for Obama implies.

(btw, I first heard "moonbat" as a term for extreme libertarians ("dismantle the defense department! sell the schools!"), years before its appropriation for other uses.)
posted by dhartung at 5:09 PM on October 31, 2009


Redstate's calling for a "purge."
posted by EarBucket at 5:12 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't get why they don't just use wingnut to describe any political extremist blinded to intelligent debate.
That's how I originally heard it used (and defined). It's a backformation from "right-wing nut" + "left-wing nut" — clearly, those two terms are describing specific sorts of "wing nut".

However, I think the loony right felt that it was being disproportionately applied to them, and wanted a new term to apply to people who were not-them, and chose moonbat for the purpose. Dunno what the origin or history of "moonbat" is. I assume it's meant to evoke and mock a woo-woo New-Age-y touchy-feely attitude.
posted by hattifattener at 5:33 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought the word "moonbat" stemmed from making fun of George Monbiot...
posted by Ron Thanagar at 5:43 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


So which of these people is socially conservative, which ones are fiscally conservative, and which are just batshitinsane?

Yes.
posted by ryoshu at 6:05 PM on October 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


The term "moonbeam" was applied to Jerry Brown. Perhaps the village idiots of the wingnut right simply forgot the tune they used to sing.
posted by stirfry at 6:16 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Frank Rich: No matter what the results in that race on Tuesday, the Republicans are the sure losers. This could be a gift that keeps on giving to the Democrats through 2010, and perhaps beyond.
posted by Brian B. at 6:18 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Joking aside, it seems to me that this proves how penned in the Republicans are by their own base. They have two choices now, try to go back to the middle and ensure a right-wing revolt or follow the base to the right and alienate any remaining moderate Republicans and the Independents. I'm pretty sure that they're too cowardly to opt for the first choice. The core of the party's supporters have gone so far to one side that they probably wouldn't vote for George W. Bush at this point. The base thinks that they lost the '08 election because McCain was too liberal. And now that that base realizes how weak the party establishment is, they're not going to back down for anything.

Watch for scores of primary challenges in '10 to Republican congressmen and Senators who Limbaugh deems even remotely moderate. I'd be shocked if Obama gets a single Republican vote from congress on any major bill between now and the mid-terms.
posted by octothorpe at 7:22 PM on October 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


This search for ideological purity can't end well.
posted by Skygazer at 9:21 PM on October 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can't speak for the 23rd - which is probably the most conservative corner of NY state - but the Republicans I know down here in the 21st still include a noticeable contingent of Sane People: Rs who are more 'Nelson Rockefeller Republicans' than they are Palinites.

I can imagine some Rs in the 23rd either not getting the word by Tuesday, or just habitually voting their party line.

So a Democratic win is not out of the question. Say, 50% (D), 10% (R), 40% (Batshit Insane).

But, as several people noted above: regardless of whether Hoffman or Owens actually wins it on Tuesday, if the Republicans cannot elect a Congressman in the NY-23rd, their days as a national party are numbered.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:22 PM on October 31, 2009


I can imagine some Rs in the 23rd either not getting the word by Tuesday, or just habitually voting their party line.

This is an excellent point, and what is lost in the land of pollsters and pundits. If you are asked a detailed, leading question about who you will vote for, you may answer one way - but if you haven't a clue and just show up to vote along party lines, at what point will you go "oh yeah, I'm supposed to be voting for this 3rd party candidate, cause Palin said so"?

I don't think we should expect NY-23 polls to be even remotely indicative of the final tally.
posted by mek at 9:38 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


try to go back to the middle and ensure a right-wing revolt

I kinda doubt that those who are revolting can be considered mainstream right-wing. Dump those chumps and be happy to be rid of them.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:47 PM on October 31, 2009


Does anyone here actually live in NY-23? I'd be really interested to know exactly how much this race has really intruded into the consciousness of the average voter there. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people haven't been paying attention at all, and just show up on Tuesday to punch their straight party ticket.
posted by EarBucket at 9:47 PM on October 31, 2009


I kinda doubt that those who are revolting can be considered mainstream right-wing. Dump those chumps and be happy to be rid of them.

Not going to happen. The GOP's down to about 20% of the voting population now, and too many of those left in the party are the hard-right Tea Party types. Yes, if they want to survive long-term, they're going to have to reach out to moderates, but doing so will almost definitely ensure electoral apocalypse in the short term. What do you think is more important to your average congressman, ensuring that the Republican party is still around a hundred years from now, or making sure he gets to keep his seat next year?
posted by EarBucket at 9:50 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


(Not that they're only getting 20% of the vote, obviously. But that's about where their national partisan ID numbers are running. It hasn't been this bad for the party since the height of the Watergate scandal.)
posted by EarBucket at 9:51 PM on October 31, 2009


I don't live in 23, but I'm close enough that i've seen some of the candidates' TV advertising.

As of tonight (hours after Scozzafava;s withdrawal), Owens' spots haven't changed and they're still mentioning her.

Which is probably a good tactic, as she's still on Tuesday's ballot. The more Rs who come out to pull her lever, the better chance Owens has.

(Maybe the funniest part about all of this wingnuttery is that the Army's Fort Drum is the major employer in the district, so a much higher fraction of the workers up there are government employees - 50% higher than in the statistically average district. Once again, we find red-state voters who are direct beneficiaries of the big-government "socialism" they rail against.)
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 10:00 PM on October 31, 2009


Siena just released a poll: Owens 36%, Hoffman 35%, Scozzafava 20%. It's all going to come down to how the Scozzafava voters break. Do they stick with the party line and vote for Hoffman, vote for Owens to send a message, or stay home and not vote at all?
posted by EarBucket at 10:06 PM on October 31, 2009


(Or go ahead and vote for Scozzafava in protest, obviously.)
posted by EarBucket at 10:07 PM on October 31, 2009


The Republicans are organizing along ideological lines, and using new media to decide what those lines are, and who toes them. The Democrats, who have always been about a coalition of loosely aligned interests, can only benefit from this strategy... moderates and conservatives who don't meet the ideological tests have found a comfy home with the Democratic Party.

This assuredly will drive the progressives and the far-left nuts (note all of the ire that Obama hasn't made pet-topic-du-jour his Administration's A-Number-One priority), but in the end it will help rather than hurt, as the momentum is towards progressive politics, rather than away. The Blue Dogs and RINO turncoats actually add mass to that momentum... it may slow things down at the beginning, but in the end it makes the Democrats all but unstoppable.

Remember when the Public Option was supposed to be gutted and tossed aside, a clear victory for the Tea-Baggers? Well, it's back... slow, ponderous, inevitable. That's going to be a very difficult set of characteristics for the GOP to counter. Right now, they're focusing on the slow and ponderous, going for flash-mob pseudo outrage, but the news cycle is working against them. They just can't keep their hot-button topics in the headlines more than a few days. The Dems work on their policy over the span of months, until when it comes time to put a stop to it, the GOP is spent, and the turf they're trying to cover seems tired and old. So it gets passed as a matter of course, just like the recent Hate-Crime bill was.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:21 PM on October 31, 2009


The Siena College poll that made Scozzafava decide to drop out had her in third place:

Owens 36%, Hoffman 35%, and Scozzafava 20%, with a ±3.7% margin of error.

Two weeks ago, Owens had led with 33%, Scozzafava was second with 29%, and Hoffman was in third place with 23%.

So, Hoffman has pulled ahead, but just in the last ten days or so, forcing the Republican to drop out. But here's where it gets interesting:
Scozzafava's current supporters give Owens a 19-50 unfavorable rating and an only slightly worse 15-57 unfavorable rating for Hoffman.
That's a 4-7% difference: a few days ago when it was a hypothetical question, her supporters narrowly preferred Owens. Now that it's a real question, it's entirely possible that Scozzafava's supporters could narrowly tip it toward the Democrat.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 10:21 PM on October 31, 2009


Siena didn't just release that poll, it was the poll linked in the FPP which sparked Scozzafava's decision to suspend her campaign.

I also think that her decision to suspend her campaign is undoubtedly a pro-Hoffman decision. While it's being spun as an action of resistance, the most damaging action would be to remain in the race to split the right-wing vote as much as possible. While many of her votes will go to Owens, I doubt a majority of them will.

That said, I also don't expect Hoffman's poll numbers to carry through to voting day, and therefore this race is pretty damn unpredictable. The national politics in play here escape the average voter.
posted by mek at 10:23 PM on October 31, 2009


While it's being spun as an action of resistance, the most damaging action would be to remain in the race to split the right-wing vote as much as possible.

See, that's not at all obvious to me. Couldn't you just as easily argue that by remaining in the race, she was splitting the moderate vote? The right-wing vote was Hoffman's anyway.

A couple of days ago, TPM was worried that Scozzafava was acting as a spoiler for Owens. Her dropping out could be good for him...
posted by mr_roboto at 11:04 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nate Silver weighs in.
posted by scody at 11:07 PM on October 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can see Frank Rich's point that a Hoffman win is actually a longer-term Republican loss re: firing up the wingnuts, but I'd really like to see Owens win this thing. Because that'd be a big fuck-you to both the fundie/teabagger/birthers and that rotting carcass known as the GOP.

Fuck 'em both.
posted by bardic at 12:20 AM on November 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


the Scozzafava-Hoffman race has been very consciously adopted as a proxy for the fight for the future direction of the Republican Party, and now it looks like the immoderate Right Wing is winning

That's for sure. Richard Viguerie, who advertises himself as "'one of the creators of the modern conservative movement' . . . and one of the 'conservatives of the century'" wrote this today:
The GOP leadership's backing of Ms. Scozzafava was a slap in the face to Tea Party activists, town hall protesters, and conservatives across the country. The Washington GOP establishment's abandonment of fiscal responsibility led directly to the election of Barack Obama as President and Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. The American people see the GOP leadership and establishment every bit as much a part of the problem as the Democrats.

Doug Hoffman and NY-23 is an earthquake in American politics, and is the first of many challenges to establishment Republicans that we will see for the 2010 elections and beyond. The stupid decision by Republican leaders to pour $900,000 into the NY-23rd race against a conservative has unleashed a fury that will lead to new GOP leadership.

Conservatives anger at Washington-establishment Republicans will cost the national committees tens of millions of dollars as conservative money will start flowing directly to the Tea Parties and their candidates.
posted by flug at 12:49 AM on November 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bellwether.

yes, favorited, sorry, thank you mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey.
posted by orthogonality at 2:31 AM on November 1, 2009


> A moderate, fiscally conservative but liberal on social issues (abortion, gay rights)

Outsider comment: Isn't that basically a Democrat?
posted by Decimask at 5:32 AM on November 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I live in NY-23, which is why I've been itching to do a FPP on this race. But I don't think I count as an average voter, being a liberal democrat who's a regular reader of Huffington Post and has Foxnews deleted off my TV.

I will try to take the pulse of co-workers tomorrow. Usually I try to stay away from political talk after the shouting match I got into over a "Obama doesn't salute the flag" photo, but I've learned to be more circumspect and may get some good insight.

In the meantime, the biggest newspaper in the district has slammed Hoffman,

It is frightening that Mr. Hoffman is so beholden to right-wing ideologues who dismiss Northern New Yorkers as parochial when people here simply want to know how Mr. Hoffman will protect their interests in Washington.

and also has a nice interview with Scozzafava discussing why she withdrew.

A week and a half ago, Conservative Douglas L. Hoffman was appearing on a nationally syndicated conservative talk show while Democrat William L. Owens was in New York City, attending a fundraiser with President Barack Obama.

"I was in a dairy barn that night," said Republican Dierdre K. Scozzafava. "I was talking to a constituent about the dairy crisis."

posted by saffry at 6:00 AM on November 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Saffry, I think your link is broken. It sounds really interesting, so maybe you could ask an admin to fix it?
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:55 AM on November 1, 2009


Here's saffry's link.
posted by octothorpe at 6:58 AM on November 1, 2009


state and federal actions are seen as inroads and not services

So, have they dynamited I-81 and I-87, or do they just avoid driving on the interstates?
posted by kirkaracha at 7:01 AM on November 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can say that as someone who lives in central Vermont a good 50 miles from this district, but gets some cable programming from a Plattsburgh station, it has certainly been in my consciousness. Before I started paying attention the advertising was quite confusing. Based on the adds you have (and I'm talking tone not content here) two candidates who want to brainwash your children and give your property away to illegal immigrants and one whose only purpose in life is to be a sleazy corporate lawyer protecting corporations that kill your loved ones. It has been genuinely nasty and the faux-support ads for Scozzafava that the right wing ran were pretty blatant and just plain mean by the standards of normal north-country political discourse.

This district has sent Republicans to congress for nearly 150 years consistently, but that was apparently the 'old' kind of republican where local business folks got together and endorse local candidates who knew the issues and would try to keep government small and taxes down. If this establishes the new level of ideological purity to be a republican in this country it is a definite win for the Democrats.
posted by meinvt at 7:23 AM on November 1, 2009


The Watertown Daily Times didn't just slam Hoffman this morning, FYI - the paper endorsed the Dem. They had previously endorsed Scozzafava.


Greg Sargent on Gingrich
: "it’s interesting that someone once considered a spokesman for the fire-breathing right is now condemning conservative leaders for mounting ideological purges."
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:42 AM on November 1, 2009


If this establishes the new level of ideological purity to be a republican in this country it is a definite win for the Democrats.

While I agree completely that, in the long-term, this insane pegging of the meter to the right is a recipe for disaster for the GOP, I fear what such a shift bodes for this country in the short-term. It's probably a good bet that such far-right ideologues can't be elected to the White House (I hope), I don't think it's inconceivable that they can't secure enough seats in the House, over time, to have a dangerously deleterious effect on this nation. And, I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility for them to win a few Senate seats, either.

My great fear is that the US will have to weather a period where these nuts hold sway over national policy, ruling from the position of an idealogical lock-step plurality in congress. The next 10 years, give-or-take, could prove to be truly ugly in the US, unless the moderate Republicans wake up, organize, and put this movement down like the wild, rabid dog it is.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:09 AM on November 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dear Erick Erickson: You know who else ushered in a purge?
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:17 AM on November 1, 2009


Agreed, Thorzad. If the GOP goes very far right, they might not get to directly lead, but they could indirectly rule by pushing the Overton window. They could very well change the American moderate position to be pretty far to the right. Just look at how many people who hate their existing insurance are now scared of "government run healthcare" even more.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:23 AM on November 1, 2009


Based on the adds you have (and I'm talking tone not content here) two candidates who want to brainwash your children and give your property away to illegal immigrants and one whose only purpose in life is to be a sleazy corporate lawyer protecting corporations that kill your loved ones.

One of the big reasons democracy is so broken is this negative campaigning. I note that the information you have gleaned from the political advertisements says absolutely nothing about what the candidate will do.

It's a system of voting against candidates, instead of voting for them. Crazy.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:37 AM on November 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Five Fresh Fish, that may be true, but without negative campaign ads, we could have a FAT GOVERNOR. Attack ads keep your children safe from politicians who seek to abuse their power.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:53 AM on November 1, 2009


FFF:

As it happens, negative ads (to the extent that they make true statements) carry more actual information than positive ads.

If I tell you that I will do X, Y, and Z, where those are all valence issues or phrased in such a way that everyone supports them, then you know that what I'm saying might be true, or might just be me telling you what you want to hear, and discount it. Maybe I say I will do X because I will, maybe I say it because I think you want to hear it. So either you don't update from your prior beliefs or, at most, make a small change.

If I tell you that Opponent did Bad Thing, that carries more information. Opponent didn't do Bad Thing because he was trying to impress me. Opponent didn't do Bad Thing to look good. The only reason Opponent would have done Bad Thing is that Opponent is the sort of person who does Bad Thing when he thinks he can get away with it. This is the sort of information that can get you to update your beliefs hard.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:28 AM on November 1, 2009


The Watertown Daily Times didn't just slam Hoffman this morning, FYI - the paper endorsed the Dem. They had previously endorsed Scozzafava.

Here's the op-ed; the paper also reports that Scozzafava has "began to quietly and thoughtfully encourage her supporters to vote for Democrat William L. Owens."
posted by EarBucket at 10:30 AM on November 1, 2009


Scozzafava officially endorses Owens: "Bill understands this district and its people, and when he represents us in Congress he will put our interests first. "
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:57 AM on November 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


A little more from Scozzafava's statement that CunningLinguist linked to:

"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."
posted by Flunkie at 12:22 PM on November 1, 2009


The comments at CunningLinguist’s link are pretty incredible: “What a loser...Go party with your ACORN friends Dede.”

It’s interesting to see Republicans starting to eat their own—I’ve always seen Republicans as having much more political discipline than Democrats. The liberal-est 50% of this country is still ridiculously fractured, but this strikes me as a new development for conservatives.
posted by Garak at 12:36 PM on November 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


It just occurred to me what the real problem is for these guys. For quite a long time the Republican Party has waged this ideological battle for the sake of campaigns, but in reality their party leadership was never going to change the status quo too much. Sure, shift spending around, but not really usher in small government, not really follow through with religious and culture wars beyond when they're useful for fundraising. But these guys are actually putting candidates out there now like Hoffman who are pure ideologues, and I think it scares the hell out of the Republican establishment, because they now have to face the living embodiment of their political work, and it's turning against them. Sure, this has happened with the conservative party before, but I don't recall such high-level defections and infighting in quite a long time.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:58 PM on November 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


Apparently, Hoffman is among the candidates who have "pledged their sacred honor" to uphold Glenn Beck's 9/12 Project.
posted by EarBucket at 1:10 PM on November 1, 2009


Apparently, Hoffman is among the candidates who have "pledged their sacred honor" to uphold Glenn Beck's 9/12 Project.

Oh, man. Gotta admit, after 8 years of Bush, this is pretty satisfying. But it's also pretty scary that Glenn Beck's antics would have been much better received in 2002-2004 or so, which is not that long ago. I think we're fine if we don't go through something like that again, but I'm not sure where we go if we do go through that again. The party that brought us Bush is not the same party anymore.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:17 PM on November 1, 2009


I'm not voting for any candidate who doesn't have the integrity to pledge to defend our sacred bodily fluids.
posted by Flunkie at 1:24 PM on November 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Friday's Watertown Daily Times report on Hoffman's crash-and-burn ed board is priceless:


"A flustered and ill-at-ease Mr. Hoffman objected to the heated questioning, saying he should have been provided a list of questions he might be asked. He was, if he had taken the time to read the Thursday morning Times editorial raising the very same questions."
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:43 PM on November 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


The comments at the Watertown Daily Times seem to be focused on ACORN. Essentially, they don't seem to care in the least that he isn't familiar with the local issues - they are concerned about invisible bogeymen in other states who may be coming to get them, tear out their teeth, and replace them with copies of Mao's Red Book.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:45 PM on November 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Republican has officially endorsed the Democrat, says Reuters.
posted by dilettante at 2:58 PM on November 1, 2009


By the numbers, Hoffman should probably still be considered the favorite. I am, however, starting to get a gut feeling (though we all know what those are worth) that most of that 20% that was still supporting Scozzafava aren't going to feel comfortable going to Hoffman. I think we might really see Owens pull this one out with Scozzafava's explicit support.
posted by EarBucket at 3:06 PM on November 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know, sometimes I think that Democracy has proven to be a big failure.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:08 PM on November 1, 2009


Maybe next time I should read the new comments from today before I post. Bah.
posted by dilettante at 3:08 PM on November 1, 2009


Now that Scozzafava has endorsed Owens, I retract my previous statements - or rather I suppose that she agrees with me. Had she not endorsed, her decision to suspend her campaign could have resulted in a Hoffman victory. It'll still be damn close, but this should push Owens over the edge, if ex-Scozzafava voters turn out in non-terrible numbers.
posted by mek at 3:34 PM on November 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


(In other teabagger news, I had the opportunity to vote against Vernon Robinson a few years ago. Now, it looks like this spectacular candidate will be challenging my current congressman next year. I. Can't. Wait.
posted by EarBucket at 4:39 PM on November 1, 2009


Invisible bogeymen: the stock-in-trade of the Republican Party.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:48 PM on November 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


EarBucket's spectacular candidate says
…look at all of the "Social Engineering" contained in the so called 1964 Civil Rights Act, and take legal steps to remove this "Social Engineering" contained in the so-called 1964 Civil Rights Act.

"Social Engineering," includes FORCED DIVERSITY, FORCED RACIAL INTEGRATION, Affirmative Action Quotas Based on Race, and all Privileges Based on Race, which are influenced by the so-called 1964 Civil Rights Act to the U.S. Constitution.

We must use all of our resources NOW, to prevent ALL future U.S. Generations from suffering under the same bondage which were forced upon all of us, due to the so-called 1964 Civil Rights Act.
NC District 13: Let's Do the Time Warp Again!
posted by five fresh fish at 4:52 PM on November 1, 2009


Opps. 4th District, not 13th. I think.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:54 PM on November 1, 2009


Actually, this guy's running in NC-4; I moved from Raleigh to Cary earlier this year. Pretty much the same dynamic, though; safely gerrymandered Democratic district means no viable Republican actually wants to run.
posted by EarBucket at 4:54 PM on November 1, 2009


I was just checking on this thread when I got another robo-call for the Owens campaign. Really wish I could have taped it and quoted it for you guys. It wound up by saying not to support an ideologue who doesn't care about needs of the North Country but instead listens to the ex-Governor of Alaska.

This is getting fun. We get ignored during most National and State campaigns, too much land to cover and too few people. Living somewhere with constant attack ads and 1-2 calls every day has been bizarre.
posted by saffry at 5:22 PM on November 1, 2009


I'm confused. Didn't they have a primary in this district? Presumably the local Republicans could have found a more conservative candidate for this election if that's what they wanted, right?

But they picked Scozzafava, and then when Hoffman comes traipsing in, a majority of the local Republican voters go "Oh yeah, that's what we want! A conservative!". WTF NY-23 Republicans?
posted by Reverend John at 8:43 PM on November 1, 2009


Oops, I see there wasn't a primary since its a special election and she was chosen by the county's Republican Party leadership.
posted by Reverend John at 8:48 PM on November 1, 2009


Final PPP poll - Hoffman primed for dominant victory:

"In a two way contest against Owens, Hoffman holds a 54-
38 advantage."
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:18 PM on November 1, 2009


That PPP poll also gives three-way results of Hoffman 51%, Owens 34%, Scozzafava 13%, which is way off of what any other polls are predicting. I'd ignore it as an outlier and wait for tomorrow's polls.
posted by mek at 11:10 PM on November 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


PPP's a solid pollster, but they've had something of a Republican lean this cycle (even though they're a partisan Dem outfit). I wouldn't ignore the poll, but I would take it with a grain of salt.
posted by EarBucket at 5:53 AM on November 2, 2009


I'm glad I read this thread just for learning about the Overton window. Great concept to describe our current national politics.

The GOP Kabuki play in NY-23 notwithstanding, the real story here is the failure of the Democratic Party (and the Obama Administration) to create new Democrats. Here's a red district that showed unexpected enthusiasm for Obama, a perfect opportunity to create a new generation of Democrats ushered in by Obama's charisma but cemented by the real change and exciting, effective politics of the Democrats in DC.

Instead, we've gotten the terrible, muddled thrashing of Reid / Pelosi / Obama over the past year culminating in healthcare "reform" that is going to leave many people wondering why they bothered to support a party that doesn't even try to deliver on its most fundamental promises. You can imagine all the barely-red folks up in the NY-23 who were arguing last year with their solid-red neighbors that the GOP really was a failure and that Obama was a new beginning and who are now sheepishly admitting that well, maybe not so much. Might as well go back to being Republicans.

I'm a radical liberal, and I hate George Bush and his necon cronies with a passion for the way they distorted what the US stands for, but Reid, Pelosi, Obama and the rest of the Democratic leadership have done far more long-term damage to our country than that idiot Bush. Bush we'll be a forgotten footnote in a decade, but we're going to pay for fifty years for this bungled Administration.
posted by srt19170 at 5:58 AM on November 2, 2009


I kinda doubt that those who are revolting can be considered mainstream right-wing.

Oh, I find all of them revolting. Country club, Rockefeller, main street, etc. -- to the extent they remain with the Party of No and White People Own America they are giving aid and comfort to radical bigots. Get over to the moral side, people. This is like the Civil Rights Movement, redux. There is no legitimate divide on the issues embraced by the far right. There is a right side -- tolerant, humane, long-term horizon -- and a wrong side -- bigoted, violent, and holding on for dear life. Either you support the actual America, or you support the Potemkin Village of Real America over which Mama Palin presides from her perch of having no actual responsibilities to govern or be accountable to anyone. What was that about "community organizers" and "small town mayors," Madame Quitter?

If Hoffman wins, the big upside is sooner than 2012. It will scare the pants off the remaining moderate Republicans in the House (and those running for Senate in certain places, most especially Charlie Crist). It may drive some of them to actually defect, either at the voting level or in actual party affiliation. Watch the health care votes after NY-23, whichever way it goes, for a registration of the effect.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:25 AM on November 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Final Siena Poll: Hoffman Leads Owens 41-36%

Check out the remarkable chart, too.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:02 AM on November 2, 2009


That's probably it, then. I think the final results will be closer to the Siena poll than the one from Public Policy, but at this point I'd be pretty surprised by an Owens victory.
posted by EarBucket at 7:15 AM on November 2, 2009


Well, Siena has the undecideds at 18, which is massive. It all depends on how they break.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:30 AM on November 2, 2009


Looking at the crosstabs of the Siena poll. Among the undecideds, Scozzafava has a net favorable rating of +6%, Owens is +6%, and Hoffman is -1%, although about 50% of the undecideds don't have any opinion on any of them. Undecided voters are also a little younger, a little more female, and quite a bit more liberal. I'd say that bodes well for Owens, though I don't know if it'll be enough to swing things.

On the other hand, Hoffman's supporters are firmer in their support.
posted by EarBucket at 8:41 AM on November 2, 2009


Scozzafava going all out in supporting Owens: appearing at a rally for him and doing robo-calls.
posted by octothorpe at 9:31 AM on November 2, 2009


Bah. No matter who wins tomorrow, the Republican Party loses.
posted by paddbear at 10:02 AM on November 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Interesting that now Rush Limbaugh has thrown himself into things at the last minute.

He said Scozzafava was "guilty of widespread bestiality. She has screwed every RINO in the country."

Here is how that played out, in the local paper,
with the Dem coming to her defense and Hoffman declining to. Will gallantry - and a lack of it - make a difference?
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:43 AM on November 3, 2009


Fun story about the end of the race and the last big Hoffman rally, which was much bigger than Biden's appearance for Owens:

"Hoffman’s mellow nature, and his ability to avoid committing to specific conservative policies, have been the cause of amusement in the press corps and in the candidate’s own campaign."
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:09 AM on November 3, 2009


From CunningLinguist's link:

“I was at a Tea Party, but this is too slow a process for me,” said John Dewitt, a contractor from Adams, N.Y. “I’m more on the violence side. I’m more of the Civil War, revolutionary kind of guy. I’m of the old school–you kick them in the ass and be done with it.”

The Hoffman backers outside of the Biden event all said they’d attended Tea Parties. Some were affiliated with Glenn Beck’s 9/12 Project. All worried that ACORN was going to show up in the district, or even at the Biden event–a paranoia that led to some minor awkwardness when an African-American Hoffman worker walked by.

“This guy’s with ACORN,” said Dewitt.

“Definitely, not from around here,” said businessman Erik Dunk.
posted by box at 8:15 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm a radical liberal, and I hate George Bush and his necon cronies with a passion for the way they distorted what the US stands for, but Reid, Pelosi, Obama and the rest of the Democratic leadership have done far more long-term damage to our country than that idiot Bush. Bush we'll be a forgotten footnote in a decade, but we're going to pay for fifty years for this bungled Administration.

I really love that your post appears in a thread that is largely about how the Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot because of their "small tent" purges of party members who aren't as ideologically "pure" as the far fringe. Why, just this morning, I said, "God, I really need a good example of irony today. What can you do for me?" and apparently God was all, "Boom. Here ya go, brother." (God sounds like Randy "Macho Man" Savage in my imagination.)

I'm all for a more leftward turn in this country ... but Bush, a president who started a war on two fronts under false pretenses, among his numerous other anti-accomplishments, will be a forgotten footnote in a decade? Seriously? What crazy shit do you think is gonna happen in the next ten years that's just gonna merit a footnote?
posted by Amanojaku at 3:04 PM on November 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


Think on this:

George Bush and Dick Cheney were presumably the very best the Republican party had to offer.

John McCain and Sarah Palin were presumably the very best the Republican party had to offer.

Wow.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:14 PM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yes, and John Kerry was the best the Dems could produce the last time around. With, christ, John Edwards.

The bench aint always deep.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:09 PM on November 3, 2009


Owens is leading 50-44, with 19% of the vote in. Looks like it could be a tight one.
posted by EarBucket at 7:16 PM on November 3, 2009


Sorry, make that 51-44 with 27% of precincts reporting.
posted by EarBucket at 7:18 PM on November 3, 2009


33% in, Owens 49%, Hoffman 46%. Also, several areas are apparently having problems with their machines and may not report in until morning. This one could be a real nailbiter.
posted by EarBucket at 7:28 PM on November 3, 2009


39% in, Owens is leading 50-45. Word is that the mood's getting more pessimistic at Hoffman HQ. Looks like Scozzafava's supporters swung for Owens big time.
posted by EarBucket at 7:34 PM on November 3, 2009


54% of precincts reporting, Owens is leading 49-46. Scozzafava's holding steady at 5%.
posted by EarBucket at 7:39 PM on November 3, 2009


With, christ, John Edwards.

That probably could have been phrased better.
posted by empath at 7:41 PM on November 3, 2009


With 63% in, Owens is still up 49%-45%. It's looking like he's going to pull it out.
posted by EarBucket at 7:48 PM on November 3, 2009


hoffman is already complaining about voter fraud.

it's almost too bad that he's going to lose. I'd prefer that the right wing go after more scalps.
posted by empath at 8:01 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nah, I think a narrow Owens victory is ideal. It puts another Democrat in the House, but the tight margin means the teabaggers can tell themselves that they would have won, if not for that RINO Scozzafava. (That seems to be the dominant meme among conservatives on Twitter tonight.) I think if Scozzafava pulls more votes than the margin of victory, it's going to fire up the teabaggers more than an outright Hoffman victory would have. They're going to go full-throttle after Charlie Crist.
posted by EarBucket at 8:05 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


71% in, and Owens is leading 49%-45%, with his actual vote count widening just a bit.
posted by EarBucket at 8:06 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


With 78%, Owens leads 49-46, by approximately 3,700 votes. It's looking pretty unlikely that Hoffman's going to be able to come up with the votes to overtake him, especially considering that the absentee ballots were filed weeks ago, before Scozzafava dropped out. I'd say Owens has about an 80% chance of being the first Democratic congressman from his district since the Civil War. Good job, teabaggers!
posted by EarBucket at 8:36 PM on November 3, 2009


84%, and Owens widens his lead to 4,200 votes.
posted by EarBucket at 8:39 PM on November 3, 2009


thanks for the updates, EarBucket!
posted by every_one_needs_a_hug_sometimes at 8:40 PM on November 3, 2009


Republicans on Twitter seem to think Owens will take it, but are declaring it a conservative victory nonetheless, blaming ACORN (!) and Scozzafava.
posted by EarBucket at 8:45 PM on November 3, 2009


With the margin this close, it's unlikely the race will be called tonight. They're going to have to count the absentees, and Hoffman will be able to force a recount if he wants to. But it's almost certainly Owens at this point.
posted by EarBucket at 8:56 PM on November 3, 2009


FOX News just called it for Owens. I'd say that's pretty decisive.
posted by EarBucket at 8:58 PM on November 3, 2009


Hearing that Hoffman may be about to concede.
posted by EarBucket at 9:11 PM on November 3, 2009


Yup, Hoffman's conceding. Good move on his part not to drag this out in litigation; although probably necessary if he wants to run again next year to try to unseat Owens. He can't afford to look like a sore loser.
posted by EarBucket at 9:16 PM on November 3, 2009


OH FFS MAINE
posted by lalex at 9:29 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


oh crap, is it bad in Maine? I can't look... I can't look.

*peeks through fingers*

GODDAMMIT MAINE, PULL IT TOGETHER.
posted by scody at 9:46 PM on November 3, 2009


The No On 1 people are saying there will be a recount, but still. This was such a well-done campaign. I posted a link to one of their ads before on the blue...ARGHHH!!!
posted by lalex at 9:50 PM on November 3, 2009


Fuck. How can it be constitutional to put civil rights up to a referendum? Can you imagine voting on ending Jim Crow in the '50s or lifting the bans on interracial marriage?

GAHHHHHHHHHH! Oh, Great Equal Protection Clause, SAVE US.
posted by scody at 10:06 PM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I didn't think conservatives could beclown themselves any further.

Thanks for proving me right, wing-nuts! First Democratic congressman in 120 years for NY-23! Suck it!
posted by bardic at 10:47 PM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Step Two: kick out the corporatists.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:16 PM on November 3, 2009


Ugh. I would have traded Corzine, Owens, and Deeds for a victory on gay marriage in Maine. I cannot even imagine how it must feel to have civil rights snatched away like that.
posted by lalex at 11:18 PM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


WTF Maine?!? Repealed the marriage law?! What a hopeless society.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:47 PM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Colorado is getting damn stupid, too.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:52 PM on November 3, 2009


Last time I eat lobster, fuckheads.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:18 AM on November 4, 2009


If I lived in California, I would be doing everything to get the RescueMarriage.org referendum in. Let's see the social conservatives stand up for that one!

I just hope they make sure they include language to make it illegal to teach kids about divorce. If I had a kid and he came home one day to tell me about how he learned that a married couple can become an independent man and woman, I'd probably scream and drop something. Parents should be the ones to tell their children about adult perversions at the right time, and the bible offers no mechanism for divorce.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:14 AM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Think on this:

George Bush and Dick Cheney were presumably the very best the Republican party had to offer.

John McCain and Sarah Palin were presumably the very best the Republican party had to offer.

Wow.


No, they were the most appealing. Calling them "the best" is a broad term. Best for the country? Best for the GOP?

Election Day Nov 2009 round-up from VA, NJ, NY(C), Maine and Washington (state), including the fact that Maine voters voted Yes - to overturn gay marriage legislation - on Question 1 by a margin of 52-48. Turnout was high with a sharp urban/rural divide along No/Yes line.

On the other site of the country, Washington Referendum 71 "everything but marriage" is looking close, but positive, and why it matters. In short: outside of the urban centers, Washington is largely conservative, and this will be the first state to to approve gay equality by direct will of the people, rather than the court or legislature.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:53 AM on November 4, 2009


Primaries are really weird, when you think about it. You're asking people registered for one party (in most states) to vote on the candidate they want. The problem is that it tugs them at a lot of different directions, as they can vote for who most agrees with their views (good for moderates, bad for people farther on the fringe who tend to be most passionate), or who they think will be most likely to actually get elected. It's hard to tell which choice is better, and it's not too surprising the process comes up with people like McCain and Kerry.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:24 PM on November 4, 2009


I've joked in the past that neocons would be better served by Norse mythology rather than Christianity, as the Vikings were all about being tough and didn't think pillaging was evil. They just thought it was an acceptable way to get resources, so they wouldn't have to pull of elaborate excuses for going into Iraq.

In the election, a footnote mentions that a pagan was elected to New York's city council. What kind of paganism, you ask? Norse Heathenism! Complete with Odin, Loki and the gang! He's the first elected pagan in America, so congratulations, Dan Halloran.

Also: YAY NY CITY COUNCIL! THAT'S WHERE I'M A VIKING!
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:06 AM on November 5, 2009


There's a little more going on with the election, hard to believe since Owens is sworn in and voting in Congress. But there's been some issues with the new voting machines we were using here, and Hoffman is now wishing he could "unconcede" the election. He sent out a fundraising letter stating that

"ACORN, the unions and Democratic Party were scared, and that's why they tampered with the ballots of voters in NY-23


Jerry O. Eaton, Jefferson County Republican elections commissioner, called Mr. Hoffman's assertion "absolutely false."
posted by saffry at 3:28 PM on November 19, 2009


How can that accusation — that ACORN treasonously tampered with ballots — not be cause for a lawsuit?

If ACORN is tampering, it has to go down and go down hard. I mean, you just don't screw with the voting process. Heck, I'd make an exception to a death penalty ban, to deal with vote tamperers. They are a malignant cancer.

If Hoffman is lying, he should be prepared for at the very least a financial ass-whipping for libel.

And come to think of it, lying about vote tampering by falsely accusing someone ought to also be grounds for serious jail-time punishment. After all, the accusation could result in the accused being put to death. Doing that to an innocent person must be punished extremely severely.

You know, if we don't start taking vote integrity seriously, and soon, we are going to completely lose our ability to even have a democracy. If you can't trust the voting process, you can not have a democracy.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:36 PM on November 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


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