It’s not too often that a political party gets a do-over for a bad decision. According to Douglas Hoffman, the Republican Party has a second shot at getting it right in New York’s 23rd Congressional district. Hoffman has declared himself as a candidate again, giving the GOP a chance to nominate a fiscal conservative instead of the party-boss favorite:
Doug Hoffman, the conservative Republican small businessman, who, last November, narrowly lost a Special Election in upstate New York’s 23rd Congressional District, tonight emailed a letter to over 20,000 of his supporters declaring that he will be formally entering the race and that “this time we will defeat Bill Owens”. Hoffman, a life-long Republican, ran in last year’s hard fought race on the Conservative Party line. This year he plans to unite the Republican, Conservative and Independence Parties in an effort to defeat “the agenda of Nancy Pelosi and Bill Owens”.
In his letter to supporters Hoffman stated: “I will champion the fight for less spending, lower taxes and shrinking the deficit. I will speak out about the need to defend our nation and the freedoms of its people. And, I will never back down from taking on the career politicians who conveniently forget that they represent and work for you; average American citizens, not the special interests who fill the back rooms of Washington with lobbyists and fill the campaign coffers of elected officials with money.”
Circumstances should favor Hoffman this time. In the previous contest, a special election to fill John McHugh’s seat, the state didn’t allow for a primary contest, throwing the nominations to the county chairs of both parties. Democrats chose Bill Owen, while Republicans passed over Hoffman to select DeDe Scozzafava. Hoffman ran as a third-party candidate instead, winning over Tea Party enthusiasts while Scozzafava campaigned poorly and alienated voters in her district. Hoffman came within a couple of percentage points of winning the whole race.
This time, though, the normal primary process will select the nominees, but Hoffman has to be an early favorite to run the table. He has a high profile, thanks to his amazing run last year. Owens will have to run again in a district that elected Republicans for over 100 years in perhaps the worst national environment for Democrats in years. Although losing this race to Owens last year wasn’t the best outcome, Hoffman now won’t have to run a primary challenge against a sitting Republican. That makes his task much easier, and it also keeps the national Republican organizations from the temptation to meddle in the process.
I interviewed Hoffman at CPAC when he visited Blogger Row. He’s aggressively noncommittal here, but it was obvious that he was interested in the upcoming race.