Why I'm Not So Worried About NY-23

Stuart Rothenberg (via Political Wire) calls the New York congressional district won last month in a special election by Democrat Bill Owens one of the 12 most vulnerable House seats in the nation for 2010 (for some reason rating the district ahead of the open seat the GOP is defending in Illinois 10, which backed Barack Obama by a 61 percent to 38 percent margin in 2008). But I'm not nearly as bullish on the GOP's hopes in this district as is Rothenberg. Here's why:

Accountant Doug Hoffman will again run for the seat he narrowly lost in a special election earlier this month, he said in a statement on his campaign website Thursday.


Hoffman rescinded a concession he made in the early morning hours after election night, and he's spent the last few weeks making an issue of alleged vote fraud; he has basically blamed ACORN for his loss. People who focus on the last election don't do terribly well on the future one -- just ask Chris Jennings, the Dem nominee in FL-13, who complained about her narrow 369-vote loss under questionable circumstances to Rep. Vern Buchanan in '06; in 2008, she lost her rematch in '08 by a 55%-38% margin. Hoffman will have to get over his loss this year to make a new argument next year.

Had Doug Hoffman stuck his head down after his loss and started working towards 2010, he might have had a great shot at winning -- perhaps better than even odds. But Hoffman didn't do this. Instead, he had a public tantrum, unconceding and blaming his loss not on the fact that he was a poor fit for the district but rather on some sort of alleged, though entirely unproven, fraud. Voters aren't terribly fond of sore losers -- it's just not the type of action that carries with it the sense of gravitas that voters tend to like.

Moreover, Hoffman just isn't a good fit for the district. During the special election, he walked into an editorial board meeting with a newspaper in the district almost entirely devoid of an understanding of local issues. While it is certainly true that House elections are federal elections and thus implicate more national than local issues, voters don't tend to support candidates who wear their indifference towards the needs of their community on their sleeve.

This race could yet end up close, and Hoffman might even get swept into Washington in a wave election for Republicans, should one occur. But this just isn't one of the 12 most vulnerable congressional districts in the country.

Tags: House 2010, New York, NY-23, Special Election (all tags)



Re: Why I'm Not So Worried About NY-23

I think if Hoffman were to put his head down and reinvent himself as someone who understands and cares about local issues, he could be a good candidate for this conservative district.  But he sorta seems like a true believer to me.

by Steve M 2009-11-30 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I'm Not So Worried About NY-23

Perhaps if he wants to represent the district he could, you know, move there and actually live among the people he wants to represent.

by fsm 2009-11-30 08:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I'm Not So Worried About NY-23

That criticism was overblown.  The guy apparently grew up in the district and lived there until his town was gerrymandered to the other side of the boundary line in the last redistricting.  His residence probably would have been irrelevant except for his total disinterest in the actual local issues.

by Steve M 2009-11-30 09:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I'm Not So Worried About NY-23

Hoffman likely won't get the nomination. They'll be a long line of stronger Republican candidates. I'd list Owens as having about 10% of a chance of being re-elected.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-30 09:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I'm Not So Worried About NY-23

I wouldn't put it that low... more like 50%. Remember this was a special elections - which is all about base support. Liberals were sort of apathetic about Owens, while conservatives country wide were riled up over Hoffman.

And come 2010 conservatives will have to spread their resources to many other races. They won't be able to put it all into Hoffman as they did this time.

by vecky 2009-11-30 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I'm Not So Worried About NY-23

Owens only won because of crossover support from moderate Republicans, which isn't likely in the GE.  

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-30 08:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Why I'm Not So Worried About NY-23

Republicans will need a moderate, pro-choice Republican to win back this seat.  A Doug Hoffman or a John Sweeney isnt going to cut it.  

by Kent 2009-11-30 09:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Why I'm Not So Worried About NY-23

Democrats control the entire Northeast because of crossover support from moderate Republicans, or people who used to call themselves Republicans.

It's like saying that Republicans only win in Arkansas or West Virginia because of crossover support from Democrats.  Well, yeah.

by Steve M 2009-12-01 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Why I'm Not So Worried About NY-23

We can prevent the Republican wave, and win NY-23.  My guess is that once Obama launches his major offensive at the State of the Union address, and tackles jobs and many, many, many moderate-progressive bills that 60 Democratic Senators can unite on to invoke cloture, the Republican surge will be over, Republicans will again become dispirited, and our base will again become super-charged.

by Georgeo57 2009-11-30 12:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Why I'm Not So Worried About NY-23

I hope that is true. Maybe playing softy in 2009 is just a ploy to get the GOP peaking early and then hit them with the counter-punch in in Nov 2010.

There is no doubt that Obama can with a good speech chnage the game a bit - like his joint address after the August massacre. However i don't think ti will be enough. There is too much infighting and bickering in the Dem caucus, and 2010 will not be about Obama, but about the Dems in Congress.

by vecky 2009-11-30 01:12PM | 0 recs


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