Doug Hoffman is a soft-spoken conservative from upstate New York who gained national attention in 2009 for his campaign against liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava and Democrat Bill Owens — and he just rang. He tells us that he has been keeping a close eye on Owens this week.
Owens, who won that 2009 special election and then reelection in November, has been dancing around the question of who he’ll support for speaker. First he told a local newspaper that it was “quite possible” he’d cast a vote for House GOP leader John Boehner. That quote made waves, and Owens quickly backtracked, claiming that he was simply “blowing off a little steam.”
Hoffman challenges Owens to stick by his original statement. “I encourage him to vote for Boehner,” he says. “Not only should he support Boehner, but he should come out and say that he’ll work with Republicans to repeal health care, stop cap-and-trade, and cut taxes.”
“Owens seemed like he was going in the right direction when I read his comments earlier this week,” Hoffman says. “I thought he was seeing the light. It was disappointing to read about his change.”
Hoffman, who ran in both 2009 and 2010, will not rule out a 2012 run. “It’s way too early to start talking about that,” he says. “At this point, I’m self-assessing, spending time with my family, and looking at ways to go forward.” He notes that if the Conservative party and GOP can unite in NY-23 next cycle, “we’ll have a real chance to capture this seat.”
Unlike GOP strategist Brendan Quinn, who sees NY-23 potentially being carved apart in reapportionment, Hoffman thinks that the sprawling district could stay relatively the same, “with no dramatic change, since Republicans know that the district, in most parts, is home to conservatives . . . Its remoteness and demographics, in my opinion, probably will lead to it staying as is, with maybe the Lake Placid area coming back into the fold.”