Well, there’s a pretty good chance now that the Republicans will have tebagged away what should have been an easy win in NY-23. There’s talk about the tea party candidate, Doug Hoffman, winning, but I think that’s quite unlikely. I doubt his base of support is much higher than the percentage of the district that consists of single issue pro-life voters (probably around 20% in the district — thrown in a more oddballs and you might get to 30% but not much higher). If you read between the lines of this NYT piece, that’s what is going on in the race:
“The No. 1 victory will be to defeat Dede,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which works to elect candidates who oppose abortion.
Ms. Dannenfelser, along with members of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes efforts to legalize same-sex marriage, are helping to coordinate efforts on the ground in support of Mr. Hoffman.
At the Days Inn on Sunday, Ms. Dannenfelser, 43, of Arlington, Va., and three other organizers from the Washington area who have temporarily relocated to Watertown joined a conference call with conservatives from across the country. A small picture of Jesus and the Virgin Mary rested on top of the television, while the Pittsburgh Steelers game played with the volume muted.
Now, Scozzafava may be a bit of an outlier with her support for reproductive rights and same sex marriage, but Republicans in NYS are not, in general, that conservative. In much of the state, union support is crucial, so Republicans generally suck up to unions. Moreover, they tend to support spending on health care, education, etc. This is why the Republican party remains relevant in a state that Obama won by 26 points.
There are also lots of third parties in NYS — a Conservative party, a Libertarian party, etc., and they all have some amount of infrastructure. So it should be pretty easy to teabag Republican office-holders — specifically state legislators — all over the state. My two local State Senators are Republicans — one is a former Democrat who is in the pocket of unions (for better or worse), the other is best known for supporting local arts with earmark money. Neither is as left as Scozzafava on reproductive rights, but both would probably lose if there were a Conservative party candidate pulling even 10-15% of the district vote. They both should be teabaggable.
I’ll be curious to see if the
teabagagers teabaggers are emboldened to wage a scorched earth campaign against moderate Republicans statewide. It would accomplish nothing in terms of winning races, but it might radically change the state Republican party and energize the state’s Conservative party.