According to this press release, Christian conservatives are enthusiastically rallying to Doug Hoffman's campaign. This certainly doesn't fit the Democrats' template that Christian conservatives are hurting the GOP's chances of electoral victories. For that matter, it doesn't fit the template of many just-barely-center-right Republicans like Lindsey Graham, either.
Social conservatives are expanding their efforts to support Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in next week's special election for New York's 23rd Congressional District. The Susan B. Anthony List, in partnership with the National Organization for Marriage, is leading the social conservative effort to mobilize votes for Hoffman. The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List has spent over $125,000 in the race so far, including over $50,000 in pro-Hoffman radio ads. Hoffmann materials and signs are being distributed so fast that the organization had to order an additional 50,000 pieces of candidate comparison literature just to keep up with demand.
"Doug Hoffman's surge in the polls matches a corresponding surge in action by enthusiastic grassroots activists across the district," said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. "It's amazing how many veteran political observers got it wrong, spinning this story in the conventional 'conservatives as GOP electoral spoiler' narrative. To the contrary, there is a unique reason so many are endorsing a third party candidate for the first time, the GOP choice was the least desirable of the three candidates. Doug Hoffman provides pro-life people a viable choice."
The Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund, in partnership with the National Organization for Marriage, is organizing the conservative grassroots ground program in the district. Field staff are recruiting over 200 volunteers to staff polls on election day, canvass churches, and distribute literature, lapel stickers and yard signs across the district. The fund is also sponsoring over 150,000 robocalls and live GOTV calls to identified pro-life voters in the district.
"Our efforts on the ground give a voice to the thousands of voters in the district who believe that life, marriage, and fiscal responsibility all matter. We didn't create these people. They were there all along, despite being ignored by the Republican Party. This is not an issue of making perfect the enemy of the good, but the good as the enemy of the unacceptable. And if things continue on this track the good guy, Doug Hoffman, will prevail on November 3rd."
That's the type of enthusiastic GOTV operation that every candidate dreams of having. There's a lesson in this if the GOP is willing to listen. (Unfortunately, I'm not certain they are willing to listen.) That lesson is that milquetoast traditional candidates don't inspire people to work passionately for them. We needn't look further than John McCain's campaign for proof.
Another lesson worthy of the GOP's attention is that picking true conservatives in districts where they have a good shot at winning will make fundraising immensely easier. After seeing the Obama administration's spending/bailout spree, people are looking for fiscal conservatives more than ever before, more than they were looking for one when Reagan entered the national stage.
Settling for candidates like Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Charlie Crist and Dede Scozzafava is the best way to pour cold water on the fire that the TEA Party activists and townhall goers are generating. If the GOP embraces the TEA Party activists, they'll score a resounding victory in 2010. That's because they'll be on the positive side of the enthusiasm gap that Democrats had in 2006 and 2008.
Carly Fiorina thinks that free speech needs regulation. Charlie Crist thinks that wasteful federal spending is the right economic elixir. These aren't the best candidates available. In fact, if the Heffley-Hitler-Crist scandal continues growing, which I'm betting it will, Crist might be forced to end his campaign.
Here's another lesson that national GOP strategists must learn ASAP: Pick the candidate with gravitas and charisma over the candidate with the built-in fundraising network and name recognition. We've seen what Ron Paul and Howard Dean did through the internet fundraising network. Anyone caring to wager that Jason Chaffetz, Marco Rubio and Doug Hoffman won't be properly funded in 2010 should contact me ASAP. I can use the easy money I'd make on those bets.
UPDATE: WOW!!! I didn't see this coming:
Dede Scozzafava, the Republican and Independence parties candidate, announced Saturday that she is suspending her campaign for the 23rd Congressional District and releasing all her supporters.
The state Assemblywoman has not thrown her support to either Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate, or Bill Owens, the Democratic candidate.
"Today, I again seek to act for the good of our community," Ms. Scozzafava wrote in a letter to friends and supporters. "It is increasingly clear that pressure is mounting on many of my supporters to shift their support. Consequently, I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so. I am and have always been a proud Republican. It is my hope that with my actions today, my party will emerge stronger and our district and our nation can take an important step towards restoring the enduring strength and economic prosperity that has defined us for generations."
Saying that this changes the dynamics of the race is understatement. WOW!!!
Comments welcome at LFR.