Democrats are turning their TV ad fire on Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman in the upstate New York special election to succeed former Rep. John McHugh (R), reflecting the belief that he is a growing threat to Attorney Bill Owens (D), who has benefited from the ideological split among Republicans in the race.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s new television ad comes as a poll released Monday shows Hoffman has taken the lead in the three-way race. The poll was paid for by the anti-tax Club for Growth, one of Hoffman’s main sources of financial support in the race. The poll showed Hoffman with 31 percent, Owens at 27 percent and state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R) in third place with 20 percent.
The ad notes Hoffman is a millionaire and claims he supports “more of the economic policies that failed us,— including tax cuts for the wealthy. The committee reported $10,500 in independent spending as part of the ad disbursement over the weekend, the first time it has invested money to attack someone other than Scozzafava.
The Club for Growth reported another $228,000 in spending on advertising on Hoffman’s behalf over the weekend. On Friday, the 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East labor union disclosed a $153,000 ad buy supporting Owens.
Another poll, released Friday by liberal blog Daily Kos in conjunction with Research 2000, showed Owens maintaining a narrow lead over Scozzafava, with Hoffman in third. The club also released a poll earlier in the race that showed Hoffman in a far more competitive position than independent polling.
With just more than one week before Election Day, the surrogate wars have reached a fevered pitch in the race, and Republican endorsements over the weekend continued to split between the Conservative Party and GOP nominees in the race.
In the past few days, Hoffman has added to his list of conservative endorsements — which includes former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) and a number of national conservative advocacy groups — with nods from former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin; Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), who is running in a contested Senate primary; former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and wealthy publisher and 1996 and 2000 GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes.
Conservatives have balked at Scozzafava’s candidacy because of her backing of same-sex marriage and abortion rights as well as her ties to organized labor.
On Saturday, Scozzafava appeared with two moderate Republican Members, Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) and Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (Fla.), who lauded Scozzafava as principled and independent.
“In recent weeks, Dede’s opponents and outside special interest groups have spent over a million dollars trying to distort her record and misguide voters about who she is and what she really stands for,— Collins noted. “The truth is, Dede is the only Republican in this race and the only candidate with a proven record of leadership that voters in this district can trust.—
The Scozzafava campaign has sought to underscore that by pointing to the Daily Kos/Research 2000 polling, which has Scozzafava 19 points ahead of Hoffman among Republican voters in the district.
Owens, content to watch the Republicans turn against one another, spent the weekend touring the expansive upstate district. Today, New York Sen. Charles Schumer (D) is joining Owens on his “jobs tour.—