The special election to fill the upstate New York congressional seat vacated when Republican John McHugh was cleverly appointed secretary of the Army by Barack Obama has quickly become the most controversial race this year.
The Democrat candidate is businessman and lawyer Bill Owens, but the real contest here is between Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, who is even leading in some polls, and Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava. As we have previously noted, Hoffman, a self-made millionaire, assumed the Conservative mantle after local GOP leaders picked the shamefully liberal Scozzafava as their candidate.
National Republican figures have come out in force to back either Hoffman or Scozzafava, and by doing so they have outlined the ideological battle lines that exist within the GOP. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich endorsed Scozzafava, a New York Assemblywoman. Gingrich said that it’s not his place to question the wisdom of local party leaders, while he also expressed concern that if “we’re going to purge the party of anybody who doesn’t agree with us 100 percent [then] that guarantees Obama’s re-election.”
Gingrich may have a point here, but looking at Scozzafava’s background, one might wonder if she’s agreed with the Party even 10 percent of the time. She has been tied to ACORN and their leftist Working Families Party, she is pro-choice, pro-stimulus package and pro-card check for unions. In fact, she makes party-jumpin’ Arlen Specter look like a Reaganite.
Hoffman, on the other hand, is an avowed fiscal conservative who carries a strong message of bringing economic responsibility to Washington. Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Dick Armey, Fred Thompson and Rick Santorum have all lined up behind him. They have all stressed the importance of sticking to the conservative principles that are, or at least were, the backbone of the Republican Party.