As I checked my e-mail throughout today, I reminded myself that very little that happens on the final weekend of the campaign ends up having a memorable or decisive impact. The deluge of frantic messages starts around this time every year — did you hear this candidate say this at this rally? Did you hear this rumor of this poll showing a huge surge? Did you hear that the party is sending in a last-minute bundle of cash! Look at this crowd on a Sunday! — but most years, looking back on the race, while the get-out-the-vote efforts may matter, the news events of those final days.
It happens once in a while – the Bush DUI report, and Osama bin Laden’s message, for example. But Kerry’s joke about the troops? The weird passages in Jim Webb’s book? The allegedly “racist” Playboy ad in Tennessee’s 2006 Senate race? McCain’s Saturday Night Live appearance?
Eh, not really. But at the time, lots of folks, sometimes myself included, thought they could have a late impact on the momentum.
I mention all this because there’s actual, real, game-changing news today: Dede Scozzafava withdrew, turning New York’s special House election into a two-man race. The Siena poll suggests her remaining supporters were mostly Republicans; 29 percent of Republicans backed her. With the RNC, NRCC, Newt Gingrich, and every other pro-Scozzafava candidate backing Hoffman, you figure most of those folks will go in Hoffman’s pile. But note that 13 percent of Republicans were already backing Bill Owens, the Democrat. So crossovers aren’t that unthinkable.
A guy in the know, who’s helping out with pro-Hoffman efforts up there, tells me, “Of the 20 percent or so who supported Dede, we think 70 percent are registered Republicans. We are focusing on them. Hoffman has run an anti-Washington, stop Nancy Pelosi/Harry Reid campaign, so that’s the message we’re continuing to push.”
He adds, “All the Dede resources from RNC et al got pushed to New Jersey, by the way, they didn’t stay around to help.” (Christie probably needs it more.)
You would think that this development means Doug Hoffman will be the next congressman from this district. But then again, not too far away and not too long ago, Jim Tedisco looked like he had a good shot, too. It’s on Hoffman’s campaign and its allies, now, to bring out their voters.