Dede Scozzafava is every bit the Liberal Republican the Grassroots has been warning about for weeks. Bowing to the political reality, reported in the Watertown Daily Times, “that Siena Research Institute poll numbers show her too far behind to catch up – and she lacks enough money to spend on advertising in the last three days to make a difference”, Scozzafava announced this morning she was suspending her campaign. However, claiming that, “Today, I again seek to act for the good of our community,” and, “I am and have always been a proud Republican,” her actions reveal that nothing could be further from the truth. She did not withdraw from the race, she suspended her campaign. While the practical result is the same, the difference is telling.
She continues her explanation with, “It is increasingly clear that pressure is mounting on many of my supporters to shift their support.” Nowhere does she address the reasons for her lack of money or the pressure on her supporters. All of this is understandable. In the pressure of the moment, it’s hard to be either precise or circumspect enough to satisfy everyone. There is, however, one specific thing it is incumbent upon a candidate to do in such a situation. They must tell their supporters what to do next.
At the end of a primary, losing candidates all pledge to rally behind the person who won their Party’s nomination. Hillary Clinton sounded positively Republican in telling the nation how bad a President Barack Obama would be. But when he was the Democrat’s nominee, she supported him and encouraged her followers to do so as well. OK, maybe the PUMA people are evidence she didn’t really do that but you get the idea. The Hoffman challenge of Scozzafava in NY-23 was a primary of sorts. It was a fight to see what values and principles the Right of Center voters in NY-23 would rally behind. The voters chose Hoffman’s and that didn’t sit well with Dede.
What Scozzafava did next was unconscionable. She “[released] those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so.”
This is key because in her official statement, her very next words were, “I am and have always been a proud Republican.” What a slap in the face to the NRCC and RNC which spent $900,000 in support of her campaign. When the NRCC recently withdrew from the NY-23 race, it made overtures to Hoffman. Scozzafava knows Hoffman is the obvious candidate to support if she gets out. But she couldn’t make herself do it. It is a slap in the face to all the GOP supporters across the country who supported her because they understand the importance of keeping the seat in the GOP. It is a slap in the face to all the people in NY-23 who want Republican representation in DC. With proud Republicans like Scozzafava, the GOP doesn’t need Democrats to worry about. And that’s been the point of Hoffman’s candidacy all along.
Some will rightly argue Hoffman isn’t running as a Republican, he’s the Conservative Party candidate, and so there will be no GOP representation even if Hoffman wins. But Scozzafava herself was running as both the GOP candidate AND the Independence Party candidate. Hoffman would have run on the GOP ticket had he been allowed to. Since there was no primary he had no choice except to run as another Party’s representative. Scozzafava’s refusal to specifically tell her supporters she was supporting Doug Hoffman; that they should support Doug Hoffman, too; and that even though her name was on the ballot, she was requesting her supporters NOT to vote for her but to vote for Hoffman instead can be spun as defending the Republican brand. More likely it will be seen for what it is – what happens when RINOs go on a murderous rampage.
Of course, all this is what you’d expect if Scozzafava’s opponents were correct and folks like Newt Gingrich and the NRCC were wrong. If Scozzafava were the Conservative Republican they said she was, she would have fought hard, been gracious in defeat and supported the candidate with the most Conservative principles moving ahead to Tuesday’s election. Instead she proved herself to be the Liberal RINO she was charged with being and has outed herself as the petty, vindictive and mean-spirited Republican that your Democratic friends are always telling you about. You know the ones. The Democrats in Republican clothing.
Now that this is done, it’s time to focus on Tuesday. We have an election to win!
Cross posted from Blue Collar Muse