Rightbloggers get a scalp, and perhaps a party, in NY-23

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On the weekend before a nationally-covered upstate New York

Congressional election, the Republican candidate endorsed the

Democratic candidate. This is a rarity in American politics, if not a

first.

Rightbloggers played a key role in this historical achievement. Let’s step back several weeks and see what happened.

Once upon a time Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava was running for the 23rd Congressional District seat, which Republican John McHugh recently abandoned to serve as Obama‘s Secretary of the Army. Like McHugh and his predecessor Sherwood Boehlert,

Scozzafava is (or was, depending on how you look at it) one of that

vanishing breed known as moderate Republicans, with a mixed plate of

positions. She’s pro-choice and pro-gay-marriage, for example, but was

endorsed in this race by the NRA.

She was challenged on the right by Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman,

who called himself “the conservative Republican in this race.” The

Democrats nominated a rich lawyer, Bill Owens, who was a registered

independent at the time of his selection.

In September Scozzafava was enjoying a comfortable 10-point lead

on Owens, with Hoffman slightly behind him. Then conservatives, angered

by Scozzafava’s ideological impurities, started stirring the pot …

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