The Return of the Original Tea Party Candidate

He's back. Call it Doug Hoffman, the sequel. The self-described man of the people with a half million dollar car collection and the original Tea Party candidate endorsed by Sarah Palin and Dick Armey among others has bought a home in the New York Twenty-Third Congressional District and has announced on his website his decision to seek the seat currently held by Democrat Bill Owens.

From The Gouverneur Times:

During an interview Tuesday with the Gouverneur Times, Hoffman admits "I've been campaigning behind the scenes."

Hoffman's candidacy letter seems to support his statement. "Back in January I commissioned a poll. The results were encouraging. The poll showed that 74% of Republicans who vote in primaries thought I should run again. 71% thought I could win back the congressional seat in next November’s election. But, perhaps more importantly, the vast majority of Republicans said they would cast their vote for me in a Republican primary," Hoffman writes.

"I'm the only candidate who can unite Republicans, Conservatives and Independents," Hoffman proclaims.

It should be remembered that after conceding the race, the eccentric millionaire unconceded on Glenn Beck's radio program blaming his loss on Acorn and unions from outside the district. An odd charge especially since he didn't even live in the district at the time, an oversight which he has apparently corrected.

The Northeast - Continuing the realignment in 2010?

That the Northeast has been trending blue in recent cycles is self evidently true. Will it continue in 2010?

Below the fold for all the details and hey go check out the <a href="">2010 Race Tracker Wiki over at Open Congress</a> for all your House, Senate and Gubernatorial needs.

(Cross posted at Daily Kos, Swing State Project and Open Left)

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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.

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On the Trail: NY-23 and Texas

Two updates on races around the country.

NY-23 Congressional District
After conceding the NY-23 congressional race to Democrat Bill Owens for the second time last week, the darling of the Tea Party crowd Doug Hoffman has announced his intention to run again for the seat in 2010. More at CNN.

Texas Governor's Race
Fort Worth attorney and former US Ambassador Tom Schieffer dropped out the Texas governor's race earlier this week and urged the remaining Democratic candidates to unite behind Houston Mayor Bill White as the party's best chance to beat whoever emerges from the Rick Perry versus Kay Bailey Hutchison Republican primary. Schieffer was the first major candidate to enter the Democratic primary race for governor but struggled to ignite enthusiasm for his candidacy. The race for the Democratic nomination has drawn several lesser known second-tier candidates including Austin author Kinky Friedman, Fort Worth educator Felix Alvarado, Whitehouse rancher Hank Gilbert and Houston hair care magnate Farouk Shami, who has pledged to put $10 million of his own money into the race. Alvarado and Shami are political novices making their first run for office; Friedman ran for Governor in 2006 as an independent while Gilbert was the Democratic candidate for Texas Agricultural Commissioner in 2006.

Houston Mayor Bill White is currently seeking the US Senate seat now held by Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison but there are expectations growing that he may switch and run for Texas Governor. More from the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

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NY-23: Hoffman Concedes Again

Just over a week after unconceding the race in the NY-23 and after charging electoral fraud, the Conservative Party candidate and Tea Party darling Doug Hoffman has again conceded the race. It's enough to give one whiplash. From Politico:

"Yesterday, the remaining ballots were counted in the 23rd Congressional District special election. The results re-affirm the fact that Bill Owens won," Hoffman said in a statement this afternoon.

"Since, the morning of November 4th, many of my supporters have asked me to challenge the outcome of this race. Their concerns centered on the veracity of the new voting machines used, for the first time, in the majority of the eleven counties that make up the Congressional District. Over the past three weeks, we nearly cut Bill Owens' lead in half. Sadly, that is not enough."

As of Monday, Democrat William Owens leads the race by 3,397 votes, with 628 absentee ballots left to be counted. Mr. Owens led, according to unofficial election night results, by 5,335 votes, but a recheck of the machine vote in the 11-county district put the gap at 2,864 votes. The Democrat has added 533 votes during counting of absentee, emergency and affidavit ballots, which started November 17th. That's right, Hoffman actually lost ground as the absentees were tallied.

Congressman Owens now has 72,711 total votes, or 48.3 percent, while Hoffman has 69,314 votes, or 46 percent. Republican Dede Scozzafava, who suspended her campaign three days before Election Day after being hounded by the Tea Party set, has 8,619 votes, or 5.7 percent.

In his written concession, Hoffman made no mention of the electoral fraud charges that he leveled last week.

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