Scozzafava Drops Out; Name Will Remain on Ballot

After the race’s final poll showed Assemblymember Scozzafava (R) a distant third to her Democratic & Conservative opponents, she dropped out, but her name will remain on the ballot.

It’s beyond too late to reprint ballots in those counties of the 23rd using new paper ballot scanning machines (8 of 11), but the lever machines in Clinton, Essex, and part of Oneida counties could presumably be retooled, albeit at great cost, in time for the election. In any event, they won’t be: state law doesn’t so require.

So the question remains what effect if any Dede’s continued presence on the ballot will have. We should assume that upwards of 10% of voters — her die-hard supporters — may still vote for her, out of protest (she was, until recently, incredibly popular). That leaves 10% to swing to either Owens or Hoffman. But do we expect Dede’s residual voter base to reflect her principles and vote for Owens, the remaining candidate closest to her in ideology, or would pulling a lever (or signing a ballot) for a Democrat be too much of a mental shift?

17 comments

  1. You know… I’ve been faced with the “Preferred Candidate Dropped Out” scenario, most recently in last year’s presidential primaries. My experience was that up until I was standing there to vote, I still hadn’t made up my mind whether to vote for my preferred remaining candidate, to try and block the more unwanted candidate, or to try to vote for the candidate I actually wanted… and it turned out they’d taken his name off the ballot, so I had to choose between “undecided” or the less-unwanted.

    The whole experience made me wish the states had some sort of campaign-retention law so people couldn’t stop running once they’d started. I’m not sure how you’d enforce it, especially since the British actually have that as a constitutional custom but they’ve found ways around it, but… unless you get disqualified by dying or going to prison, once you start campaigning, I don’t like it if you drop out.

  2. This creates a pretty interesting dynamic. I really don’t think that many true Republicans are going to shift over. What this really is about is how many Independents are still leftward-inclined at the moment.

    1. I don’t think that’s what it’s about. The national relevance of an exclusively Republican district potentially switching to a hardline, tea-party, extremist conservative representative will do little more than prove that Republicans are committed to expunging moderates.

      1. When you say ‘moderate’ ….i’m curious what you think separates her from the average Democrat?

        1. She’s a moderate Republican, and one from NY State, to boot; of course her positions on stuff are going to angle towards the middle.

          That said, she’s not so different to a lot of moderate Republicans, IMO; the fact that she’s getting so much crap flung at her (not necessarily from you, I hasten to add) for being a Rockefeller Republican makes the point about how hard the GOP is falling towards teabaggery and the like.

          1. I don’t see that at all. Positions like being in favor of card-check or a favorite of the teachers’ unions are very hard to reconcile with having an (R) after your name.

            When I think ‘moderate’ Republican I think John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Charlie Crist, Huntsman, Paul Ryan. The problem is that the folks that are calling themselves ‘moderates’ today are more akin to Arlen Specter and to use an unfortunate moniker, they are RINOs. You can only move so far to the Left before you lose all credibility as a Republican.

            1. Sorry for slow reply – arthritis attacked me like some kind of stealthy yet slow and creaking-jointed ninja.

              Re card check – it’s not especially difficult to reconcile it with a right-wing position, if you take the view of it being a free association for individuals thing, similarly unions in general. But that’s another discussion, anyway.

              On moderates… Any party which is going to be successful cannot have its ideology reduced to a single point, as the Republicans seem intent on doing. To be successful in a democratic society, you have to be able appeal to a broad base of support, which means a spectrum of ideas within general statements of principle. If Scozzafava believes broadly in the principle of minimal govt and individual vs. collectivism, why shouldn’t she be a Republican? Trying to limit party membership solely to those clustered around a single poltical viewpoint is madness and does the GOP a disservice.

              1. The issue I have with the people calling themselves ‘moderates’ these days is that they aren’t people who have less-extreme, but still conservative views (see David Brooks). They are people who have several views that are straight-up liberal. All we are saying as a party is that those specific ideas do not mesh with mainline conservatism. I’m 100% fine with a socially-liberal Republican holding office. What I want to see though is them running honestly on that position (see Rudy Guliani) and not hiding behind the moderate label.

                1. But if we all know that’s what moderate means, what’s the difference?

                  1. Because most people don’t know the difference and it’s disingenious to hold 50/50 conservative and liberal views and call yourself a Republican. They should be Independents.

                    1. Even if that assessment of Scozzafava were true, it does rather bear out my point – restricting a party too narrowly in its ideology is a route to madness and electoral failure.

                    2. What’s narow about it? If you’re a Republican then most of your views should be conservative. They can be moderate or mainline or extreme, but they have to be clearly distinguishable from the Left.

  3. Ok, the really frustrating thing about this is that the more I read the news coverage of this, the more it looks like Scozzafava’s the one out of the three I’d have voted for were I a resident of New York’s 23rd District and she still running. Which means I’m stuck with two parties I don’t fit into comfortably and the candidates I agree with dropping out. I hope this doesn’t harbing a national trend to come…

  4. @ Mike: I think we’re getting into angels on the head of a pin territory – something may or may not be rightwing (I decline to use the word “conservative” here) depending upon many different things.

    As an example from the UK, Euroscepticism is traditionally a Tory pursuit, with Labour and the LibDems being more enthusiastic regarding increased integration; the Tory argument is that it impinges on sovereignty (and also general distrust of internationalism).

    However, the opposite could be true – Tories might support it enthusiastically because it opens up trade and so on.

    1. Mike – you have to remember that in our two party system we don’t have the subtle variations between multiple parties that you do in the UK. In the US if you are a Democrat then most of your views should be liberal. If you’re a Republican then most of your views should be conservative.

      1. Well, I don’t know that I fully agree with that, to be honest. While we do probably have more factions, our MPs are more beholden to party interests in Parliament (the Lords less so, but still to a certain extent) and are more under the control of the Whips (the Leslie Spriggs story is not so unusual).

        Representatives and Senators, though, are more independent of the Party apparatchiks – witness the Blue Dogs’ defection over the healthcare bill (I’d like to point to similar Republican groups, but right now they seem to be marching in lockstep).

        And again, I think this is cheeseparing – right and left are ultimately dependent upon circumstances.

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