Looks like that bandwagon is just about full up now:
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Friday that a victory by Doug Hoffman, the third-party candidate in the Nov. 3 New York special election, is a win for the GOP.
The actual Republican nominee, Dede Scozzafava, trails Hoffman, the Conservative Party nominee, and Democrat Bill Owens by double-digits according to a recent poll. But Steele argued during an interview with POLITICO that the GOP doesn’t need to worry about Scozzafava’s lagging ratings because Hoffman is essentially a Republican.
“You’ve got two Republicans running in that race. My upside is that one of them will likely win,” Steele said. “We want to be supporting the one that wins.” …
Asked if he would support Hoffman in 2010 if the Conservative Party candidate won the special election and sought reelection, Steele responded: “Why wouldn’t I?”
“Is he a Republican?” Steele asked. “He’s the Conservative Party nominee, but he ran initially as a Republican.”
Before anyone gets too huffy about Steele’s late conversion, let’s remember that the RNC had nothing to do with picking Scozzafava. That idea came from local party leaders, who anointed Dede Scozzafava themselves in a hurry for the special election. The RNC’s job is to elect the Republican in these races, so Steele never did have much of a range of options in the NY-23 special election.
Of course, that’s what makes this compelling. When the national chair of the party says that he’s perfectly happy with another candidate winning, it sends a big message to Republicans in the district, and it’s not “Go Dede!” In fact, Steele has it right about the next election, should Hoffman win; most Conservative Party candidates also run as Republicans in New York, as party endorsements are not exclusive. The only reason Hoffman hasn’t done so is because of the decision by county GOP heads to select Scozzafava for the endorsement.
The only people not on the Hoffman bandwagon now are Scozzafava herself and Newt Gingrich. Must be a lonely place to stand while the parade passes by.