Reports: GOP gives up on Scozzafava? Update: Issa switches to Hoffman

A Scozzafava spokesman denies it, but bloggers in the area and now Red State are hearing that it’s true. This doesn’t mean that the party’s unendorsing her, mind you, merely that they’re not going to blow any more dough on propping up a failed effort.

The NRCC tells me directly that they are only spending money on anti-Owens ads. The anti-Hoffman YouTube? Gone. The anti-Hoffman press releases? Gone. The anti-Hoffman everything else? Gone.

The pro-Dede Scozzafava stuff? Gone too.

The RNC ground crews? They are pulling out to New Jersey.

This smells more like a cosmetic concession to the base than some meaningful attempt to help Hoffman win. The election’s in four days; unless the GOP dumps her completely and swings fully behind him, she’s likely to retain a fair number of party-line Republican voters in the booth. But they can’t do that or else it’ll encourage every independent conservative candidate in America to mount third-party challenges next year, and then the curse of Gingrich will be fully upon us.

In fact, it might be upon us already:

With Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman running neck and neck with the Democrat in Tuesday’s special election in New York, some other disaffected Republicans are seeing the third-party route as more viable.

And it could hurt the Republicans in those races.

In Virginia’s 5th district, state Sen. Robert Hurt’s entry into the GOP primary has spurred little-known candidate Bradley Rees to switch to the Virginia Conservative Party. And in Ohio, another GOP primary contender said this week that he’ll run as a Constitution Party candidate.

Both will go at the GOP nominees from their right flanks and try to expose some unhappiness in conservative ranks. They might not be as well-funded as Hoffman or be filling quite as big a vacuum as the one left by Republican Dede Scozzafava’s left-leaning politcs, but they could steal valuable votes.

If the worst happens and the GOP is deluged with independent challenges next year (possibly spurred on by Glenn Beck?), then you know what the headline will be the day after the midterms, don’t you? “Dede’s Revenge.”

Update: Darrell Issa, trailblazer? “It will be interesting to see if other Scozzafava backers follow Issa’s example in the name of keeping the seat in GOP hands.”

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