Tight three-way race in New York House special election

A new poll on the special election in New York’s 23rd Congressional District shows Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman at 17 percent, tied with Democrat Bill Owens and just behind Republican Dede Scozzafava, who is at 20 percent. (Scozzafava also has the backing of the Independence Party.) Forty-five percent of respondents were undecided; the election is November 3. Scozzafava defeated Hoffman for the GOP nomination for the seat, which is being vacated by Rep. John McHugh, who has been nominated to serve as secretary of the navy.

Hoffman launched his first television ad on Thursday.

13 thoughts on “Tight three-way race in New York House special election

  1. Nate

    Who is this “we”? He’s a Republican and will act like one in Congress, probably switch party affiliation immediately if elected.

    From his campaign website:

    ‘The poll also asked, “Would you prefer your next member of Congress be a liberal Democrat, a liberal Republican, or a Conservative party candidate who would align himself with Republicans in Congress?” The Conservative Party candidate was selected by 36% of respondents, compared to 31% for the Democrat and 18% for the Republican.’

    If he at least tries to get some good legislation for third parties passed (and I wouldn’t bet on it), he might be the least of all evils, but frankly he don’t impress me much.

  2. Ross Levin

    Of course he’d align himself with the Republicans (although switching his affiliation is just speculation). If you’re a party of one in Congress, you can’t get anything done (at least that’s what I hear…). If you caucus with one of the major parties, like Bernie Sanders with the Democrats, then you can still retain your views and votes that you would have otherwise had, but you get the benefit of the party organization.

  3. Richard Winger

    As I recall, Hoffman is a registered Republican right now. Ironically, the Democratic nominee, Owens, is a registered independent. New York election law doesn’t prevent parties from nominating someone just because the someone is not a member of that party.

    But if Hoffman happened to win, that would still be useful for minor parties generally. It would be the first time someone had been elected to the US House who was the nominee of a minor party and not simultaneously the nominee of a major party, since 1949. There have been oodles of independents elected to the US House as independents since then, but no one has won with just a minor party label since the Liberal Party won a special US House election in New York in 1949. The candidate was Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr.

  4. Third Party Revolution

    When I mean we, I was meaning minor parties and independents. I know that Hoffman states that he should be the Republican Party’s nominee, but hopefully he won’t switch party affiliation when elected. But I am certain he will caucus with the Republican Party, as most independents who have been elected caucus with the two major parties.

  5. NewFederalist

    TPR- do you care what an independent candidate or minor party nominee actually stands for or do you just always prefer anyone to Demorepublicrats? I am just curious. Thanks!

  6. Dave Schwab

    I’m not too excited either. The Conservative, Independence, and Working Families parties in New York are just paper parties that sell their ballots lines and services to Democrats and Republicans.

  7. Ross Levin

    I think it would be good to get a third partisan into the House without the help of either major party. Even though the guy is just about diametrically opposed to everything I believe in, none of the other candidates seem to be much better, and it would give third parties in general more credibility and viability than they have right now.

  8. Nate

    I don’t mind if a lone third party member caucuses with one of the major parties. And it is obvious that as a Conservative he would caucus with the Republicans rather than the Democrats. (As an aside I would hope an elected Libertarian would caucus by himself, possibly allowing liberty-minded members of congress to join him.)

    What I don’t like is the word “align.” Will he merely caucus with them, or will he align himself with them? Because imho if you align yourself with a group, you’re not retaining your views and votes. But perhaps I’m reading too much into phraseology, it’s been known to happen. 🙂

    I also don’t think it will really give third parties any more credibility, as Joe Lieberman didn’t give independents any more credibility either. Sore losers of a primary running under another banner isn’t particularly helpful for the third party and independent image. If you go to the prom with a pretty girl, people might think you’re a real stud. If she only went with you after being turned down by half the school: not so much. Home grown talent is the way to go if third parties want real credibility.

    As for it being good in general to be able to say, “the last third party candidate elected to congress was in 2009,” I’d have to disagree there as well. It’s a two-sided blade and I can already see any number of ballot related lawsuits being undone because “see, the laws aren’t unfair, in New York the Conservative Party’s nominee was elected.”

    If we’re going to hand them a weapon like that, we should at least get a real third party congress critter, not just one who would rather be wearing elephant slippers.

  9. LibertarianBlue


    I agree with you on the Working Families party but the Independence Party does have a member in the Assembly. They as a party do endorse both parties since they regard themselves as Populist as opposed to Liberal, Conservative or Libertarian.

    The Conservative party will be independent if the Republicans put up a RINO but they endorsed McCain in 2008 so go figure.

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