Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee came under harsh criticism from the right for withholding his endorsement for NY-23 Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman until after Republican Dede Scozzafava withdrew from the race. At an event today at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, Huckabee ripped into the GOP candidate — he said Scozzafava was “more liberal than 85 percent of the most liberal members of the Democrats in Congress — as well as the local Republican Party establishment that selected her to run in the special election.
What made [NY-23] the mess that it turned out to be was that the party process by which they selected a nominee was at best hideous. To get 11 party bosses together without really thinking through the implications of what that candidate believe, to go to the pizza place and get back there and stuff themselves with pepperoni and be completely oblivious to the philosophy and the ideology of the candidate was insane.
And to put forth a candidate that was more liberal than 85 percent of the most liberal members of the Democrats in Congress didn’t make any sense. So it gave an opening for Hoffman to run as an independent. But the problem always in independent candidacies or third-party candidacies is it tends to guarantee the election of the one you like even less. And it was sort of born out of this.
Now when Dede left, as she should have, then you had a two-person race, but her then throwing her support to the Democrat showed her true colors. But it was just a train wreck, a total train wreck. I don’t blame Hoffman, I don’t even blame Dede, I blame the Republican Party establishment bosses who created the issue by putting somebody as the nominee that clearly was out of step with the Republican mainstream.
Of course, Scozzafava may have been out of step with Huckabee and other prominent conservatives, but in New York, as a study of ideology in state legislatures found, Scozzafava was actually slightly to the right of the average GOP legislator. In retrospect, perhaps she was a better match for her district than Hoffman, who lost to Bill Owens — the first Democrat elected to represent the district since the 1870s.
Here’s the video: