For those of you who aren’t political junkies, NY-23 is New York’s 23rd Congressional District. Until Recently, it was represented by John McHugh (R).
President Barack Obama chose him for a post at the Pentagon, setting up one of two races for congressional seats this fall (the other is California’s 10th District). Yet NY-23 has begun to capture the attention of the nation’s celebrity conservatives and Republicans like no other race in a long time.
NY-23 is a three way race, pitting Democrat Bill Owens against Republican Dede Scozzafava and Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman.
Right wing Republicans like Sarah Palin, Fred Thompson, Michelle Bachman, Steve Forbes, Tim Pawlenty, Dick Armey, and Rick Santorum have flocked to back…..Hoffman the Conservative! Oh yeah, and Congressmen John Linder of Georgia and Todd Tiahrt of Kansas have also jumped on the Hoffman bandwagon.
Newt Gingrich must feel awfully lonely. He’s about the only well known Republican retread backing Scozzafava.
What’s so important about a three way race in upstate New York? Why all this right wing firepower? I’ll hazard a guess.
For Palin and Pawlenty, it’s a chance to burnish their credentials with the conservative base both think they’ll need to run for president in 2012. For the others, it’s a test of conservative strength. It’s a chance to say all is not lost in Barack Obama’s America (you know, the one they want back). They’re banking that voters in upstate New York care about the Bachmans, the Forbes, the Thompsons, the who???
NY-23 is the right on what they hope is the comeback trail. How else top explain why this race threatens to eclipse both the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial contests? Of course, the stakes are high. If all this right wing heft is brought to bear and their guy loses (Owens is currently leading in a couple of polls), what does it say about the true gravitas of the tea party wing of the GOP? Then, on the other side, maybe Doug Hoffman wins. That makes all these right wing Republicans kingmakers in a district most couldn’t find with a GPS. It’s also interesting to hear John Linder in particular bleat about backing Hoffman to end bipartisanship in Washington.
Hey genius, how do you think the seat opened up in the first place? John McHugh, tapped to be Army Secretary, is a Republican! If Owens wins, it will be the first time a Democrat has won the seat in 100 years. No matter what happens, this race has exposed a steel cage match for the soul of the Republican Party.
Do you think it’s worth the trouble, and if so, who will win?