A close analyst of the New York political scene tells me:
Aside from everything else, if Hoffman wins, this means the Conservative Party is a player again on the NY political scene. Ironic that Pataki endorsed Hoffman at the Conservative dinner the other night, for it was under Pataki that the state GOP began to tilt left and favor candidates like Dede. Pataki himself was pro-choice and very union-friendly, endorsing a version of card check for unions in NY.
The Senate Republicans had headed in the same direction. Indeed, one reason the state Senate is now narrowly controlled by Democrats is that the Republicans nominated a relatively liberal Assembly member (Will Barclay), the scion of a wealthy upstate family, to run against a relatively conservative Democrat who was a farmer (Darrel Aubertine) in a special election last year. (The GOP’s back-up candidate in that race was Dede.) Barclay was endorsed by leading public employee unions, including the teachers, after tailoring his legislative positions to avoid offending them. A lot of good it did him.
The good news: the state’s new GOP chairman, Ed Cox, is much more willing to work with Conservatives and much less inclined to the simplistic view that Republicans need to sound more like Democrats. Rather, he thinks the party should actually strand for something.
It’s not a new golden age for the Conservative Party, though. Some of their key local committees are controlled by hacks allied with one or another of the major parties, or even (in the case of Schenectady County) the local police union. In Westchester, a very strong Republican candidate for county executive, Rob Astorino, would have a better shot at unseating an entrenched Democratic county executive if the county’s Conservative Party had not, incredibly, endorsed the decidedly non-conservative incumbent. If Astorino somehow wins, in combination with a Hoffman victory, it will be really, big shot in the arm and shove in the right direction for the NY GOP.