The party lines in New York’s 23rd Congressional District got even more confused Sunday. A day after a conservative third-party campaign hounded Dede Scozzafava out of the race, the moderate Republican turned around and endorsed her Democratic rival. Politico reports on the Democrats’ flash campaign to win her support.

But first, a little background. New York’s upstate 23rd district has been safe GOP territory for about a century. The special election there was triggered when President Obama tapped the district’s representative in the House to serve as secretary of the Army. The Republican Party chose to run a moderate, Dede Scozzafava, to succeed him. Conservatives rebelled and a third candidate entered the race, dividing GOP support and giving the Democrat, Bill Owens, a boost.

The conservative candidate, Doug Hoffman, was expected to win once Scozzafava dropped out, but her last-minute endorsement of Owens has once again shaken up the race.

The whole fracas is already being framed as a cautionary tale for Republicans (even though they’ll probably hold the seat via a Hoffman victory). If you let the conservatives have their way, they’ll just drive all the moderates into the open arms of the Democrats. But the showdown in New York’s 23rd could also inspire activists on the other side of the political spectrum who feel powerless to halt the rightward drift of the Democratic Party. — PZS


Fearful that the party had almost no chance of winning the Nov. 3 New York special election after Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava abruptly announced Saturday that she was dropping out, high-ranking national Democrats immediately began working to secure her endorsement of Democrat Bill Owens, POLITICO has learned.

On Sunday afternoon, their vigorous efforts paid off as Scozzafava bucked her own party and issued a statement supporting Owens over Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman, a coup for Democrats who recognized that their best remaining chance of winning the Republican-leaning seat on Tuesday was to swing disaffected Scozzafava supporters their way. By Sunday night, Scozzafava had taped her endorsement and it was being delivered via robo-call into targeted district households.

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