ALBANY—Conservatives are starting to flex some muscle for Doug Hoffman, their candidate to replace John McHugh in Congress, and it seems to be paying off.
Hoffman, an accountant who was passed over for the Republican nomination, is considered by many to be a spoiler against Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava. Hoffman's campaign is running an ad saying "pretending can't make you a Reagan Republican" and today the Club for Growth began airing the below commercial blasting both of Hoffman's opponents–Scozzafava and Bill Owens, the Democratic designee–saying "Scozzafava or Owens? That's like asking Paterson or Pelosi."
(The ad contains an inaccuracy: Scozzafava did not vote for this year's state budget, which raised taxes on the wealthy.)
The ad lands the same day as a poll that showed 16 percent of voters surveyed would vote for Hoffman. I ran into State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long at the hanging of George Pataki's official portrait and asked him what he thought this meant.
"Our poll shows us that this is attainable. This is clearly attainable," he said. I asked if Hoffman was just a spoiler, hoping to split the right-wing vote, and his answer echoed the attack ad.
"There is no split of the conservative vote, there's only one conservative running, and that is Doug Hoffman," Long said. "She is a Republican in name only."