This is a Republican district, but it’s not a terribly conservative district. It’s genteel, more than activist. The final straw: Hoffman didn’t even try to pretend that the election was about the issues of the district. It was all about him — and what he represented. In a way, NY 23ers took to Hoffman like Iowans took to Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean in 2003. They wanted a representative, not a movement candidate. They didn’t take kindly to all these outsiders telling them how to work.

Nevertheless, conservative activists are warming up. Hoffman was never an ideal candidate for them. He’s an accident; he may turn out to be a gifted policy maker, but no one has him pegged as a spokesman or leader of the Republican Party or the conservative movement. But Hoffman was a great warm-up for what be a huge prize: a United States Senate Seat from Florida.

Not only is the chosen establishment candidate there, Gov. Charlie Crist, distrusted by conservatives, but his approval rating in the state has begun to crater. And his opponent — his Doug Hoffman — is a real talent: Marco Rubio, the former speaker of the Florida House.