NY-23 rebukes the not-quite-resurgent Christian RIght
The Christian Right turned its big guns on New York’s 23rd, helping annihilate Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava and making Bill Owens the first Democrat to hold that congressional seat since 1871.
Their revolt against the establishment GOP was fueled by a million dollars from the Club for Growth (out of about $3 million Doug Hoffman spent), supported by hundreds of Christian Right volunteers [1, 2, 3] and had muted culture war rhetoric.
As if to underline NY-23’s role as a test of the Christian Right, anointed one, Conservative Party candidate Hoffman, had an enviable litany of the Right endorsements:
- Sarah Palin
- James Dobson
- Mike Huckabee: Huc PAC made getting Huffman elected a top priority.
- Concerned Women for America PAC
- Family Research Council PAC
- Gary Bauer, who forecast a change Americans can believe in.
- National Organization for Marriage
- New York Right to Life PAC
- Susan B. Anthony List
It was undeniably a test case for the, many had hoped, resurgent Christian Right and it just didn’t take hold with voters of NY-23, although it did drive the unacceptably moderate Republican candidate to endorse Owens.
When the results came down, out-of-state supporters busied themselves spinning defeat to their advantage, Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele rebuked them for naively assuming they could determine the outcome in NY-23 and loser Hoffman pitifully mumbled in his concession speech:
I believe America is turning the page to a new dawn.
Casting a historic loss as a “new dawn,” or accepting it as Bauer’s “near win,” is at least arguably delusional.
The Christian Right tried to keep pace with the larger right wing drum and bugle corps, whose leaders bought RedState blogger and editor Erick Erickson’s argument that the Hoffman race was “a hill to die on.”
Die there they did. Because believing they could thunder in among the people who live and vote in that district and use them like a set of ideological toys was consummate arrogance.
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