Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman is riding a wave in NY’s 23rd congressional district special election that Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava couldn’t catch. Ability to catch and ride this wave was due to the Club for Growth’s effort on his behalf to define Scozzafava as a liberal. Scozzafava proved incompetent to the task of refuting this charge and defining Hoffman as an opportunistic sore loser.
Scozzafava is a moderate Republican whose congressional candidacy was endorsed by the National Rifle Association that accompanies her A rating from them. Scozzafava’s current National Federation of Independent Businesses rating is a 75 and her NY Right to Life rating is a 60 despite her pro-choice position.
Hoffman, on the other hand, has no record. Hoffman’s chief accomplishment in this special election was proper positioning to take advantage of conservatives looking for a place to assert themselves in Republican intra-party politics.
Scozzafava should never have allowed herself to be chased out of this race by Hoffman, and therefore she didn't deserve to win. As a fiscally responsible, socially moderate Republican, Scozzafava is a typical New York Republican akin to Rep. John McHugh who was the previous congressman from the 23rd district. However, the fact that she withdrew will only invigorate right wing conservatives in efforts to define the Republican Party as being exclusively the home of the pro-life movement.
A main Hoffman/Club for Growth criticism of Scozzafava was her support of President Obama’s stimulus package funding of NY’s 23rd congressional district projects, and earmarks in general. Earmarks for NY’s 23rd CD are largely targeted for Fort Drum. This is the issue that Scozzafava failed to leverage in order to beat back Hoffman’s challenge.
Scozzafava should have charged Hoffman as not being a friend of America’s warfighters. In the last ten years $114 million has gone to Fort Drum to improve the quality of life of America’s warfighters and their families, including funding for a family support center. Those funds were important to the preparation and support of our warfighters and their families, but to Hoffman and the Club for Growth it is wasteful spending. Hoffman would have countered with his veteran status, but that rebuttal would have been easily rebuffed by testimonials by active military families insisting on the importance of the Fort Drum earmarks that would accompany the accusation.
Woulda, coulda, shoulda – Scozzafava instead failed a test of leadership and her withdrawal is a shame to those intent on resisting the advances of right wing conservatives to redefine the GOP in their image. In this election Hoffman has proven an ability to see a trend and leverage it into a chance to become a congressman. This is the kind of ambition any candidate must have to compete and win. Unfortunately for the people of NY’s 23rd congressional district Hoffman showed no knowledge of district issues in his editorial board meeting with the Watertown Daily Times and has pledged his commitment to the Club for Growth to no longer support Fort Drum and the warfighters, their families and district residents who depend on its viability and services. With no record to back up his words but a heavy debt to the Club for Growth, it is a mystery what Doug Hoffman would do in Congress.