While we slog through our local races here in sleepy Gotham, the NY-23 Congressional election remains hilarious. Last weekend Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava “suspended” her campaign, in which she had come under merciless assault by supporters of Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman and was trailing badly, and threw her support to Democrat Bill Owens.
Polling since then has been understandably mixed ands suspicious. Siena’s late poll, taken the day Scozzafava endorsed Owens, showed Hoffman up five points on his remaining challenger, with eight percent still hanging in for the withdrawn Republican and a fat 18 percent undecided. Polls trumpeted by conservatives have Hoffman leading by as much as 17 points.
This has led to a more excitable scene on the ground than usual in the upstate district. Talking Points Memo reports police called on “rowdy Hoffman-backers” at a polling site in St. Lawrence County. Yesterday a protester outside Joe Biden’s Owens rally in Watertown told Dave Weigel, “I’m more on the violence side… you kick them in the ass and be done with it.” (The man also posited that a black Hoffman worker was “with ACORN”)…
Susan B. Anthony list flyers denounce Owens, Scozzafava, and the hated President Obama as “three of a kind liberals… all three are pro-abortion…”
Rightbloggers are, as always, claiming both victory and victimization. When a local reporter asked Hoffman about Rush Limbaugh’s comment that Scozzafava is “guilty of widespread bestiality. She has screwed every RINO in the country” (Hoffman offered no comment), Robert Stacy McCain called it “a ‘gotcha’ question” and claimed “You don’t do ambush interviews in that kind of situation.” (McCain also revealed, for some reason, that when another reporter had called him the night before, ” I freaking lost it… Think of General Patton slapping that shell-shock case in Sicily… What I did not want to do was to answer the phone and have to think about the questions that Dave Weigel was asking about our post-deadline party plans.”)
On the other side, White Noise Insanity says, “Doug Hoffman is today’s Timothy McVeigh… If Hoffman wins today it will be fun to watch the right wing fringe shooting off their rifles like Saddam Hussein used to do…”
In loftier precincts, a Wall Street Journal commentator suggests that a Hoffman win could help lift the stock market (” A win by Doug Hoffman, a Lake Placid accountant, may signal a comeback for anti-government Reaganism”). Howard Dean says the race has “has destroyed the Republican Party.” Maybe so, but it’s made our Election Night party a little more lively, and for that we salute the combatants — by which we don’t mean the candidates, but rather their various deranged champions — for making democracy fun again.