UPDATE - Wednesday, Nov. 4 - DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, in a statement late last night, downplayed Dem losses in Virginia and New Jersey and focused on the NY23 race as the beginning of a conservative civil war that will only help his party.
“The all out war between Republicans and the far right wing is a disaster for the Republican Party and will dog it well after today,” Kaine said.
Don Lambro has a piece on why Tea Partiers think they won even though their candidate lost.
The conservative activist who became a public face for the August town hall protests said Tuesday that the congressional election in New York is “the first battle for the Republican Party’s soul in the 2010 election cycle.”
I asked Bob MacGuffie, a libertarian activist who wrote an organizing memo for fellow activists that drew national attention late July, about the significance of the election in New York’s 23rd congressional district.
He responded with a thorough answer by e-mail. I included some of MacGuffie’s comments in a piece about the overall impact of grassroots challengers to GOP candidates in Senate race primaries, but I wanted to allow people to read the entirety of what MacGuffie said:
Our grassroots movement is composed of solid hard working American citizens who stand for individual liberty, limited government and Constitutional law. They have seen their interests sold out by both parties. We want a say in who gets nominated to oppose the socialist agenda being driven by our national leadership. NY23 is a perfect example of where the Republican Party selected the candidate in secret, not opening the choice to the voters in the district.
The support that Doug Hoffman has received both from within and outside the district represents the yearning of conservatives to nominate a candidate of principle who stands in opposition to the big government Liberals, rather than just the Republican brand of big government Liberal. To prove our case of what is wrong with the Republican Party, Scozzafava endorsed the Democrat when she withdrew from the race!
Whether or not Hoffman prevails in the election today, we the party’s most principled activists and voters, are demonstrating to Party leadership that they must cease nominating RINOS, start respecting the loyal Conservatives and they will again experience victory. This is the first battle for the Republican Party’s soul in the 2010 election cycle. We earnestly hope Republican Party national leadership very quickly gets this message so we can get on with nominating and electing people who will govern by the principles on which our great Republic was founded.
Now, here’s how Democrats are spinning this. They say that primary challengers are forcing Republican moderates so far right that they’ll have no chance of winning general elections against Democrats, and in addition their bank accounts will be sapped by having to fight off the upstart candidates, who are riding a real surge of grassroots anger at both parties.
Sen. Bob Menendez, New Jersey Democrat and the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said that the Republicans are “Iin an environment in which this should be their best moment.”
“What happened in August clearly set us back somewhat,” he said, referring to the sense that falling poll numbers and publicly visible outrage about government spending was sending the health care reform process spiraling out of control.
“They clearly got some traction in August,” Mr. Menendez said. “But the very same elements that got them traction in August have turned against them in the primary process.”
— Jon Ward, White House reporter, The Washington Times