I just spoke to Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life conservative organization the Susan B. Anthony List, and she indicated to me that the national Republican Party will be facing a backlash for supporting a pro-choice Republican candidate in the upcoming NY-23 special election, a swing seat formerly held by Republican Rep. John McHugh, who is now President Obama’s Secretary of the Army.
I started off by asking Dannenfelser, whose organization has endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, whether she’s worried about splitting the conservative vote and handing the election to the Democrat.
“Normally in many situations that certainly can be the case, and we wouldn’t want to have somebody that will end up voting for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, that’s for sure,” said Dannenfelser. “But in this case it’s just such a different district, and their self-identification is so in line with Hoffman. It’s a shame he didn’t get the Republican nomination, because he actually seems like a Republican, and the Republican nominee doesn’t seem like a Republican.”The Susan B. Anthony List’s typical mission is to support pro-life Republican women — a counterpart to the pro-choice Democratic group EMILY’s List. In this case, however, the group is intervening to oppose a pro-choice Republican woman, Dede Scozzafava. “Because we get involved in two ways,” Dannenfelser explained. “We oppose pro-choice women, and we promote pro-life women. So it’s an offensive-defensive strategy.”
“I think they [Republicans] made a huge mistake, and they’re seeing the consequences of that. It’s also what chairman Steele made a comment about a couple weeks ago, the most important thing is that a candidate reflects their community,” said Dannenfelser. “Now you either do or you don’t have a party platform. And the Republicans do have a party platform. So the candidates ought to be reflecting the party platforms — and their communities, certainly — but in this case this woman doesn’t represent her community or the Republican Party platform. And yet the Republican Party is coming out and raising boatloads of money for her.”
I asked Dannenfelser the crucial question here: What if this election ends with Hoffman in third, and Democratic candidate Bill Owens has just narrowly edged out Scozzafava? How would she feel about that situation?
Her response: “It’s a shame that the Republican Party didn’t do a better job of selecting a candidate.”