A "radical leftist" as Republican candidate?

Conservatives are rebelling over the GOP's nominee in a congressional race, and the cops get called

Published October 20, 2009 2:45PM (EDT)

Dede Scozzafava is the Republican Party's candidate in a special election to fill a congressional seat in upstate New York. More than that, she's served -- as a Republican -- in the state Assembly for more than 10 years, and is a member of her party's leadership. But according to conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, Scozzafava is a "radical leftist."

Yes, the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district has gotten a little odd.

Scozzafava is, to be sure, a moderate Republican; she's pro-choice, and favors same-sex marriage. Markos Moulitsas, of Daily Kos fame, has declared her the most liberal candidate in the race -- that's in large part a function of liberals' dissatisfaction with the Democratic candidate, Bill Owens, though. But she has the endorsement of the Republican establishment, including party figures like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and she's the GOP's only chance to hold on to the seat.

But many conservatives have been backing independent Doug Hoffman over Scozzafava, a split that could prove fatal to the Republican's chances. And the intra-party warfare is starting to get nasty.

John McCormack, a writer for the Weekly Standard, attended a Scozzafava event Wednesday night. According to a blog post he wrote afterwards, in response to his asking the assemblywoman a series of questions that her campaign didn't welcome, including a few he tossed at her in the parking lot, the campaign called the police on him.

“This self-described reporter repeatedly screamed questions (in-your-face-style) while our candidate was doing what she is supposed to be doing: speaking with voters (remember, those who will decide this election?)," Scozzafava spokesman Matt Burns told Politico. "And then he followed the candidate to her car, continuing to carry on in a manner that would make the National Enquirer blush. I have no doubt he intended to follow her home, too. His actions were reprehensible. Those are the facts.”

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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