Magazine article Politics Magazine

New York

Magazine article Politics Magazine

New York

Article excerpt

ON A NIGHT where most marquee races broke for the GOP, Democrats took solace in the results of an upstate New York special election for a House seat that received outsized national attention. Democrat Bill Owens defeated conservative candidate-cum-Republican frontrunner Doug Hoffman by about 3,400 votes in the race for the seat left open when Republican Rep. John McHugh became Secretary of the Army.

The race came to represent the current division within the Republican Party--whether to become a big tent party or adhere more strictly to a conservative ideology. The Republican nominee, Dede Scozzafava, was a moderate who supported abortion rights and gay marriage but quickly became the target of conservative fury. Hoping to appeal to the conservative Republican primary electorate, many 2012 presidential hopefuls--including Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty--endorsed Hoffman, who does not live in the district. Scozzafava, scorched by portions of her party, quit the race the week before and endorsed Owens.

The national media picked up on the Republican infighting, and the race was elevated to the same level of import as the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey. …

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