John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Disaster Averted (Maybe)

Posted on October 31, 2009

Disaster Averted



It looks as if disaster may have been averted in the race to replace John McHugh in New York’s 23rd District. Dede Scozzafava announced that she was stepping out of the race, paving the way for the Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman to hopefully claim a victory.



John McHugh wasn’t a doctrinaire conservative when he held the seat, but he was no bleeding heart liberal Republican either. He made his name on the Armed Forces Committee, but tended closely to his district. The district is largely rural upstate New York and it has seen more than its fair share of difficult economic times.



Rural districts tend not to be very socially liberal, no matter where they are, which made Scossafava a rather curious choice for the district. She was a defender of abortion, and supported gay marriage, which made her a persona non-grata with the social conservative movement.



The interesting thing about this race is that Hoffman had a chance of winning even if Scozzafava had stayed in it. That shows you the depth of anger directed not only at the President, but at all of Washington.



At its heart, the train wreck between Dede and Hoffman (that has seemingly been averted at the last moment) was caused by a breakdown in the process. Because they didn’t have time to do a proper primary, the moderate was chosen in a back room, not by the voters. That bred resentment, which ultimately inspired conservatives to rush to back Mr. Hoffman.



Hopefully, Republicans will use this whole debacle as learning experience. With Scossafava dropping out – gracefully as the RNC Chairman put it – the GOP now should win this race. And if they do, that will send a powerful message that a unified Republican Party just may march on to victory in 2010.