The partisan split among the sample is a little narrower than usual — 40/37 between Democrats and Republicans — but never mind that. Focus on independents.
Congressional Dems rate slightly higher than Repubs (36/29), but never mind that either. The more this becomes an anti-incumbency movement, the more the majority party will suffer. Further to that point, read Ruffini’s counter-Gingrichian advice to the GOP to follow Doug Hoffman’s lead and run conservative candidates next year as stealth independents in select areas. It’s a crafty idea for blue districts where the GOP has virtually no chance anyway; anywhere else and it’s suicidal.
If you’re a party person, don’t dismiss this just yet. Say you’re the NRCC and you haven’t found a good recruit against a vulnerable House Democrat. Say the Republican nominee is a joke, or the incumbent is unopposed. Three months out, you go to your star recruit who turned you down a year ago and ask him to run as an independent. It’s a three month campaign as opposed to an 18-month campaign. They don’t have to quit their law practice or small business. They enter in the last few miles of the race, and you put serious pressure on the joke nominee to step aside, or put out word through local media and talk radio that this is the guy…
In a handful of races, perhaps in places where we can’t win with the Republican label alone, it might be more useful for the general election to be a strong Independent versus a Democrat rather than a Republican versus a Democrat. At one extreme of the Cook PVI, let’s stipulate that the general election against Charlie Rangel was waged with a Puerto Rican small business owner running on the No More Corrupt Politicians Party line with behind the scenes, logistical support from the GOP. At a minimum, that person would stand a better chance than a Republican in that district.
Maybe, or maybe he’d bleed enough support from the Democratic incumbent to clear the way for an upset by the centrist Republican nominee. If the RNC has the resources to back two candidates and there’s little chance of it backfiring, why not?
Speaking of conservative independents, here’s the latest set of attack ads from NY-23. Notice anyone missing? I think that Pataki endorsement was basically the last rites for Team Dede. Exit quotation: “The bottom has dropped out on her. She can’t win it.”
The Biden event comes the day before the special election, which has turned into a two-way contest between Owens and a third-party Conservative challenger, Doug Hoffman, who has captured the momentum in the race in the last several days.
It’s the second time Biden has campaigned for Owens – he went up to Syracuse in September to fundraise for him. And Obama headlined a New York City fundraiser for Owens last week.
For Owens to win, he needs to gin up the Democratic base in the upstate New York district to show up at the polls — voters who don’t normally turn out for off-year elections.
If New Jersey was in the bag, they probably wouldn’t be worried about the results in NY-23. The fact that they’re sending the vice president speaks volumes.
Meanwhile, Michael Steele says that if Hoffman wins, he’ll support his bid for reelection as a Republican next year.