Hoffman Buoyed by Influx of Online Donations in N.Y. Special
Due to a flurry of online donations in the past week, Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman has doubled his overall fundraising in the tight three-way special election to replace former Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.).Hoffman disclosed just over $300,000 in total receipts in his pre-general fundraising report filed Thursday, which covers the beginning of the race through Oct. 14. That included a $102,000 personal loan the accountant and first-time candidate made. But his campaign also confirmed that since then Hoffman raised over $200,000 online. Hoffman’s campaign has received a boost from an active conservative blogosphere, which has rallied around his candidacy amid growing outrage over the Republican Party’s decision to nominate Dede Scozzafava, a longtime Republican Assemblywoman who backs gay marriage and abortion rights and has ties to organized labor. On Thursday, 15 right-leaning blogs and news outlets posted calls for Scozzafava to withdraw from the race. A significant portion of the contributions Hoffman disclosed in his report came via the political action committee for the Club for Growth, the conservative anti-tax group whose early endorsement and more than half a million dollars in ad spending have helped Hoffman’s campaign gain traction. The Citizens United Political Victory Fund also gave Hoffman the maximum $10,000 donation, and other conservative PACs such as Eagle Forum and Government Is Not God, as well as the New York State and Oswego County Conservative Party committees, chipped in as well.On Thursday Hoffman also picked up a high-profile endorsement from former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (Texas) — a key figure in the Republican revolution of the 1990s and now a major backer of the tea party movement against government expansion.The online cash influx is crucial for Hoffman going into the final week and a half of the campaign, after he spent almost as much as he raised in the campaign’s opening months. He reported just $73,000 in cash on hand as of Oct. 14.Neither Scozzafava nor attorney Bill Owens, the Democratic candidate, had filed their reports as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The deadline is midnight on Thursday.Owens is expected to report a strong fundraising period, thanks to the unified backing of the party establishment. President Barack Obama attended a fundraiser for him earlier this week. Scozzafava, meanwhile, has struggled financially, Republicans acknowledge, though they think she will have enough to fund television ads and other necessary campaign functions through the end of the race.The National Republican Congressional Committee is also providing backup with nearly $600,000 in advertising and other independent expenditures on Scozzafava’s behalf. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has kicked in more than $500,000 in independent expenditures, while the Club for Growth has launched two major media buys worth upward of $500,000, as well.The Hoffman campaign’s surge, both financially and in the polls, has prompted increased scrutiny from both Democrats and Republicans. The DCCC said Hoffman’s decision to campaign with Armey shows he supports an “anti-Medicare, anti-Social Security, and anti-minimum-wage agenda.— And both parties on Thursday circulated to the press critical portions of a story from the local Watertown Daily Times recounting Hoffman’s editorial interview with the paper’s publisher, an exchange that was reportedly “tense, at times.—“Mr. Hoffman, it appeared, had not taken the time to read the local opinion page before visiting,— and did not have an opinion on several local matters, the paper said. But the Watertown Daily Times also gave Hoffman “a tremendous amount of credit for scheduling the meeting and keeping it, even though he likely knew this would not be a great-to-know-you-smiles-all-around affair.—The parties are also hammering Hoffman for skipping out on a local forum to appear on national media outlets Thursday night. Hoffman and Owens have agreed to just one debate, scheduled for Oct. 29, despite the Scozzafava campaign’s urging for a full series of debates.