My Take on NY-23

Regular commenter "Up in Prattsburgh" asked my take on NY-23, noting that Mark Assini (a Conservative candidate from 2004) could jump into the 29th race and play a similar role as Doug Hoffman is playing in NY-23.

The latest Research 2000/Daily Kos poll shows Hoffman, the Conservative candidate in the election to replace John McHugh, trailing Democrat Bill Owens by one point (in other words, they're essentially tied). Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava is behind by 10 points.

With the usual caveat that special elections are hard to poll and predict because turnout is a wildcard, my guess is that Hoffman will be more spoiler than victor in this race. Though Hoffman has attracted the attention of a lot of out-of-state conservatives like Dick Armey and Fred Thompson, his meeting with the editorial board of an area newspaper was a mess. Hoffman's unknown to 38% of the district, according to the latest poll, and he needs to make a good impression to move beyond his base. If he can't handle a simple editorial board meeting, he may have a hard time impressing undecided voters.

Though Scozzafava is behind in the poll, she's pulling 21 percent of the vote to Hoffman's 31, with 14% undecided. If the Republicans continue to split the vote, there's a good chance that Owens can win just by getting a decent share of the undecideds. This is highly likely since Hoffman and Scozzafava are at war with each other, spending precious money and time raising each other's negatives. Owens is spending his considerable warchest on positive ads, which drive up his favorables.

Even if Hoffman does pull out a win in NY-23, the circumstances in the 29th are a bit different. First, Tom Reed isn't a worn-out Assembly hack like Dede Scozzafava. The smartest thing the Republicans have done in the 29th so far is to refrain from nominating someone associated with the mess in Albany. Reed also doesn't have a Assembly record to run away from, and his public statements have been pretty conservative. It's going to be harder to run to the right of Reed than Scozzafava.

That all said, the Massa campaign offices would echo with the sounds of early celebration if a Conservative candidate did enter this race. It would almost certainly spell the defeat of Tom Reed next November.


Good analysis... By the way, it's called a murder suicide when a 3rd party candidate like Hoffman splits the ticket for their side.

I think murder/suicide captures what's happening a lot better than Karl Rove:

With the GOP vote split, the lackluster Democrat standard-bearer, Bill Owens, is likely to win. If that happens, the combined vote of Ms. Scozzafava and Mr. Hoffman will signal what a GOP candidate chosen in a primary could get in the 2010 general election. House Republican leaders could help unite the party by saying now, before the election, that Mr. Hoffman is welcome to caucus with the GOP if he wins.

Right, the 2010 election will be just like the special, Owens' one year in office will not give him a leg up, and House Republican leaders should say nice things about a candidate from another party. So says the most overrated political strategist of the last 20 years.

Incisive, as always! Thank you. I feel sorry for Dede (if I got that right). It's refreshing to find a socially progressive/contemporary Republican, particularly in a district like that. I believe she has been open-minded about gay marriage, etc. I wish she could pull it out. I love your site. Keep it up.

Maybe the House health care bill and Nancy Pelosi will help the conservative candidate in the 23rd and Reed in the 29th.

According to Politico, here is one paragraph in the bill:

“(a) Outpatient Hospitals – (1) In General – Section 1833(t)(3)(C)(iv) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395(t)(3)(C)(iv)) is amended – (A) in the first sentence – (i) by inserting “(which is subject to the productivity adjustment described in subclause (II) of such section)” after “1886(b)(3)(B)(iii); and (ii) by inserting “(but not below 0)” after “reduced”; and (B) in the second sentence, by inserting “and which is subject, beginning with 2010 to the productivity adjustment described in section 1886(b)(3)(B)(iii)(II)”. "

That's one paragraph out of 2,000 pages.

No wonder Reed didn't read it.

I've read parts of the first bill and it wasn't all like that.

Can you explain to me what that paragraph means?

Dede has suspended her campaign according to this mornings news. Interesting developments in NY-23.

That might put Hoffman over the top. Too bad for Owens.