The Campaign Spot

Keeping an Eye on Those Special Elections for the House

November 3 will see two special elections for the House of Representatives, one in California and one in New York.

In California, Republican David Harmer has a tough climb; no doubt; it’s a pretty heavily Democratic district. On the other hand, he’s running against Lt. Gov. John Garamendi at a moment when the current state government is not exactly a paragon of fiscal rectitude and governing excellence. Apparently Garamendi is uncomfortable with the word “taxes” and doesn’t want it used in public forums:

With that articulate, verbose charisma and that clear ability to think on his feet, we can conclude that the greatest advantage of the Garamendi campaign is . . . that it’s a pretty heavily Democratic district. With a special election, with public frustration high and unemployment at 12.2 percent, you have to figure this is the GOP’s best shot at this seat in many, many years. A poll put Harmer within striking distance, but obviously, it’s tough for a pollster to project a special election’s turnout just right . . .

New York’s special election is a bit more complicated.

The county Republican parties in the district nominated Dede Scozzafava, sufficiently mushy to spur businessman Doug Hoffman is challenge her from the right, running on the Conservative-party line. (Ramesh notes Rep. Jeb Hensarling is backing the Republican.) The NRCC is convinced Hoffman can’t win; he can only cost Scozzafava a winnable race against Democrat Bill Owens. Thus, while the DCCC is hitting Scozzafava, the NRCC is hitting Hoffman:

Somehow I suspect the news that the NRCC is running attack ads against the conservative alternative will not warm the hearts of NRO readers . . .


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