The Corner

Daggett Should Follow the Scozzafava Lead

When Assemblywomen Dede Scozzafava suspended her campaign because it appeared that her Conservative-party opponent, a Republican, stood a better chance to win on Tuesday she noted that she was a proud Republican. What she demonstrated was more than that.  She showed she had the integrity and humility to step aside so the team, the Republican/conservative (small “c”) party would have a better chance to be victorious. Clearly she was not a conservative and she took a beating from national conservatives, including me, for it. However, her announcement today is a lesson to all of us — that even those in our party who may not agree with us on many of our core principles and positions not only still want to be on our team, but want us to win.  

Over a week ago I announced my support for the Conservative Doug Hoffman stating that I was a Republican before I was a conservative and that I had never before endorsed a third-party candidate in a general election against a Republican. I did so not only because Hoffman was more conservative, but I saw that coming down the stretch Hoffman had the best chance of winning against the Democrat.

We are faced with another three-way race for the governorship of New Jersey. The state of New Jersey is in a free fall under the inept leadership of Jon Corzine. Would I ever consider supporting the Independent candidate Chris Daggett there? Perhaps, if I thought, in these final days, the situation there were anything like it was in NY-23. But it is not. If you take a look at the Real Clear Politics poll average, Daggett is at 12 percent while Corzine and Christie are tied at 41 percent. What has been clear in all of the polls is that Corzine can’t break out of the low 40s in support.

Daggett, meanwhile, isn’t a Libertarian or a Socialist. He isn’t carrying the banner for a cause or a party that he has embraced. He is running, I suspect, because he knows that another four years of Corzine would be a continuing train wreck for New Jersey and he thinks he could do a better job than Chris Christie.

Like Scozzafava, Daggett was a liberal Republican in the Tom Kean mold (Daggett worked for Kean) in New Jersey. Unlike Scozzafava, he left the party to join another cause, his own. Like Scozzafava, Daggett is not going to win the election on Tuesday. Scozzafava withdrew because she put what is best for her district and her country above her personal aspirations. Let’s see if Daggett can exhibit the same selflessness.

 – Rick Santorum, fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, is a former United States senator from Pennsylvania. He is the regular guest host on Fridays on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America radio show.

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