The congresswoman takes sides against a Republican candidate, and rumor is the former governor may too
As a rule, special elections held to fill open congressional seats aren’t the most exciting events. But the campaign in New York’s 23rd congressional district is starting to get pretty interesting, with an intra-party squabble on the Republican side of things getting more juice by the day.
The district leans Republican, and the seat has been in the GOP’s hands to this point — the race is being held because Rep. John McHugh resigned when President Obama named him secretary of the Army. But it’s still upstate New York, which may be more conservative than the state as a whole but is still pretty moderate by comparison to other Republican-dominated areas of the country. So the party chose a moderate, State Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, as its nominee. That enraged conservative activists, who’ve given their support instead to third-party candidate Doug Hoffman.
Scozzafava still enjoys the support of establishment Republicans, but her campaign’s been imploding quite publicly lately under the strain of Hoffman’s candidacy. Now, the independent is getting a further boost as the GOP continues to splinter over the race. In an appearance on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Wednesday, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., appeared to endorse Hoffman, saying, “Hoffman is on the ascendancy,” she said, “and we have to win this seat, and people need to get behind the winning candidate, and it looks like that’s Hoffman.” (As David Weigel points out, Hoffman’s actually polling in third place; the Democrat, Bill Owens, is in first place.)
Bachmann has a fair amount of conservative supporters these days. But she doesn’t have anything close to the star power of another woman rumored to be ready to endorse Hoffman: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
At this point, even an endorsement from Palin probably wouldn’t be enough to put Hoffman over the top. But it could certainly have an impact, if not on this race than on the candidates Republicans pick for 2010; the national party would probably be forced to go farther to the right than it would like in some areas, which could benefit Democrats.
Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon. More Alex Koppelman.
More Related Stories
- Is the Environmental Defense Fund ruining environmentalism?
- Top 5 investigative videos of the week: "Winning" Afghanistan
- Jester clowns Westboro Baptist Church
- GOP: Party of crybabies
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Guantánamo prisoner on hunger strike cries for help on Twitter
- 3 possible solutions to international tax avoidance
- “I just want the U.S. to send my father home”
- Army weapons engineer tied to white nationalist organizations
- Ted Cruz against the world
- David Vitter's hypocritical, punitive, horrible new amendment
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- Could hackers destroy the U.S. power grid?
- Democrats may be even worse than Republicans at regulating Wall Street
- Eric Holder versus journalism
- A progressive defense of drones
- There's no substitute for government disaster relief
- Holder signed off on search warrant for reporter
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Mike Judge: "Bowling for Columbine" made me pro-gun
- Closing Gitmo is not enough
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11