If you've been following the special election in the 23rd Congressional District of New York, you haven't been following it here. To recap, a moderate Republican Congressman was appointed Secretary of the Army, leaving a vacancy. A special election was called for the day after the first Monday in November (i.e., this coming Tuesday), with party nominees chosen by the heads of the county party committees for the counties in the district. The Republicans chose a woman named Dede Scozzafava, a current member of the Assembly -- the state-level equivalent of the House of Representatives -- who, I've read, does not actually have an unusually liberal voting record for a New York Republican, but who is a liberal on some high-profile issues, such as card check, and has been portrayed as liberal in this race.
Saturday, October 31, 2009 :::
This short NBC synopsis implies that New York is unusual in allowing third-party candidacies, which is, of course, bunk; on the contrary, New York is unusual in allowing third parties to endorse candidates from other parties. Usually, the Conservative Party does simply cross-endorse the Republican, but if the Republican is too liberal, they will come up with their own candidate. In this race, they have picked an accountant named Doug Hoffman.
Scozzafava started with a lead, but Hoffman got a lot of endorsements and donations. Most interestingly, a board member of the Club for Growth, which has endorsed Hoffman, registered a committee to produce and run an ad declaring Scozzafava "the best choice for progressives". The ad is deceptive about its origin — a reasonable viewer would assume it was made by a supporter of hers — but it doesn't mischaracterize any of her positions.
Recent polls indicate that Hoffman has taken ground to the point where he will not be the spoiler in this race, though she could be. The Albany Times-Union has a geographic analysis of how this happened; if you're inclined to follow exactly one of the links in this entry, I would recommend that one.
Last night or this morning or so, Scozzafava effectively dropped out, issuing a statement which I found touchingly self-aware, especially coming from a politician. I think Hoffman has to be considered the favorite now (he might even have been before), but Democrat Bill Owens is getting plenty of support. For what it's worth, Intrade gave Hoffman a 50% chance of winning yesterday and about a 70% chance now.
::: posted by Steven at 11:58 AM