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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Searching for a reason to vote Matt Doheny instead of Doug Hoffman in NY-23

By Sam Foster

After last Tuesday's primary failed to produce a clear winner for the Republican ballot line for NY's 23rd congressional district, we now wait for tomorrow's count of the more than 1,900 absentee ballots that remain outstanding.  However, regardless of the outcome tomorrow, I do not relish the decision that sits before the conservative voters of NY-23.

If Doug Hoffman loses the Republican primary, should conservative voters continue support for Doug in a three-way race or pick up the banner for Matt Doheny?  Already, local UNYTEA leader Mark Barie is flirting with the idea of switching sides and while I generally feel strongly about voting for the most conservative candidate, I must admit that the allure of defeating Bill Owens by supporting Doheny is a tempting proposition.  I can't tell the voters of NY-23 what is best for them, but here are the issues that I think conservatives are dealing with in weighing their support for Doug Hoffman.

First of all, let's be clear on one thing, I have been staunchly opposed to Matt Doheny's candidacy and not because I love Doug Hoffman.  To date, I've never written in support of Mr. Hoffman.  Here is why I've been vocal in opposition to Matt Doheny:

While the media touts how conservative his views are, he has no voting record.  We are left with his word and the endorsements of the local GOP.  While Doheny's word is unverifiable, the local GOP chairmen have a terrible record in backing RHINOs.  Not just the ACORN sponsored Dede Scozzafava, but former congressman John McHugh who was one of eight Republicans to vote in favor of Cap and Trade before joining the Obama administration.  

Doheny hasn't broken from the Republican pack either, he's been careful not to alienate party bosses with an admission of guilt in financially supporting Scozzafava.  He also put a large amount of political donations to work to get local Republican support.  But, he also gotten on the ground and went out to meet the voters.  He's done the best job campaigning that one can possibly do.

Is Doheny a true conservative, willing to buck the Republican's should Boehner come up short on items of critical importance like Repeal and Replace?  The answer is, no one knows, but there are valid suspicions.

However, a Doheny win over Doug Hoffman will prove me wrong in his electability.  I've argued that his former BUI charges will be toxic to the NY-23 voters.  Clearly, voters feel differently and strongly about it too or they wouldn't have made the trip to the primary polls.

For a week now Doug Hoffman has been in hiding, dodging reporters and supporters.  While, I don't doubt Hoffman's ability to buck the Republicans, he has not stepped up in the arena of leadership and being down in the vote count is a critical time to take ownership of your campaign, especially if you plan on mounting a third party bid.

It is hard to imagine that conservatives were not showing up en masse for NY-23 elections and that election may swing for Doheny, conservative votes included.  Ought Doug Hoffman let the voter's will decide NY-23?

Meanwhile, the left is salivating at a NY-23 conservative meltdown.  Comments from liberal sites like TPMDC that sound like:

Oh please, do let Hoffman split the Conservative ballot again and give Dem's a good shot at retaining hold of this seat.
Give one pause to choose wisely where to place one's vote.

So do conservatives take a chance on Matt Doheny?  An untested, but avowed conservative?  It sounds like such and easy choice, so why do I get that sucker feeling?


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