So..DeDe Scozzafava has called it quits...does that bode well for the conservative (Republican), or the Democrat (Independent)?
Well...I am from the district, and those of you who are outside are leaving out the important fact that this is really four or five different distinct "neighborhoods" within the sprawling 11 county district. It is not at all a socially or demographically cohesive area. There is the Northeasteren end, Plattsburgh,Franklin, Essex county, Eastern Adirondacks...then the Western part...St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties..then Oswego County ( part of Syracuse SMSA which is the reddest of all of the counties, but is itself made up of rural areas, suburban Syracuse, and the Oswego river Valley, which is largely urbanesque), then there are the really rural parts of the district like Lewis county, and parts of Fulton county...and the Northern fringe of Oneida County (Utica-Rome), and all of Madison County (part of the Syracuse SMSA).
With Scozzafava out of the picture, we can take out the "known" factor...she was at least more "known" than either of the two rivals in at least her part of the district..so we are left with two candidates, only one of whom is known in any part of the District, and that is his native Clinton county area (Plattsburgh). That area has always been the tail of the district, and it is still unlikely that it will wag the dog!
By choosing a candidate from the Eastern end of the District who is an Independent, and unkown person in the Western and CNY part of the District, the Democrats were gambling that divisions in the Republican voting ranks would allow him (Owens) to sneak by with less than 40% of the vote.
Now, he will need more to win..and where does that come from? He is kind of up the creek without a proverbial paddle, as the natural tendency of the district to vote Republican will come back into play in a two person race...unless..the Democrat
was a well known person, with support from and a base in the Western and Central part of the District..which the DCCC had an opportunity to choose, and did not.
Voters don't always vote simply ideology...Owens is a decent, reasonable man, and far from the extreme..either left or right..but he is a little aloof, and stiff in his personal interactions, and has never held elective office, and so is not a very good stump campaigner. He is not the type of person who engenders wild enthusiasm. He is merely a plausible choice.
Hoffman, on the other hand, is a kind of shy Geek-like accountant who has been totally subsumed by the national right wing agenda...he is not a very compelling persona either...but he does have momentum going his way...and that will count for something.
In the final analysis..all politics is really local...perhaps 1600 Pennsylvania avenue should have taken note of that, before choosing a candidate whose philosophy is unfathomable..whose campaign has been controlled..whose personality is bland, and whose support may be broad , but is very thin.
Bottom line..the Right wing Republican will probably prevail...but in this case, he could as easily have been Mickey Mouse, so long as he is a Republican. The Democrats needed Mighty Mouse..not Casper Miltoast..and even then...it would have been near impossible without it being a three way race. So much for this race sending any message except that our system of choosing candidates, and campaigning is broken, and sorely in need of major repair. Madison, Jefferson, and the other founders of our country would not be proud of what we have become!