Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Strange Case of New York's 23rd

Since it's the first Tuesday of November next week, there are elections in United States. Most of the attention is on gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia where Republicans look poised to unseat and replace respectively Democratic governors. The Virginia race is an inauspicious start for DNC Chairman Tim Kaine. However, the real drama is in New York's 23rd district in a special election to replace former Rep. John McHugh (R) who is now Secretary of the Army John McHugh. The district is heavily Republican (the Dems failed to field a candidate for McHugh's first election in '02) and should have favoured Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava. However, the Republican base can't stand Scozzafava and has backed Conservative Party of New York candidate Doug Hoffman who is considered to be more in line with the new GOP. All of this was going to make for an interesting three-way race come Tuesday with the split right wing vote putting Democrat Bill Owens in contention. The race became downright strange this weekend whens Ms. Scozzafava suspended her campaign and released her supporters to vote their conscience. This makes Hoffman's victory a lot more likely. While this does not really represent a third party forming in the United States (the Republican caucus is preparing to welcome Hoffman with open arms), it does show just how far right the GOP has gone when a moderate Republican can't get herself elected in upstate New York.

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