October 29, 2009 8:11 a.m.

There’s a stampede among national Republicans to support Conservative party candidate Doug Hoffman in the NY-23rd special election. And there are some signs that Hoffman may be something of a Potemkin candidate. He didn’t show up at a radio debate last night. He was on the finance committee of a hospital that successfully lobbied for a federal earmark before becoming an anti-earmark champion. And he got eaten alive by a local paper editorial board last week after he wasn’t prepared to answer questions about any of the issues facing the district.

But there’s now also increasing evidence that Hoffman has gone ahead of Republican party nominee Dede Scozzafava and is in a dead heat with Democrat Bill Owens. In recent days two polls from highly partisan groups (Club for Growth & Minuteman Pac) backing Hoffman have showed him in first place, though not by much. And now, DK/R2K has a poll out showing close to the same result. Scozzafava in third and Hoffman and Owens tied, a big move for Hoffman who was a relatively distant third in the same poll just last week.

This could be a big story on Tuesday night.

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