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Congressional Support Building for Hoffman in New York Special

Former National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) endorsed Doug Hoffman’s third-party campaign in the New York special election Wednesday, a slap in the face to GOP House leaders and the current top brass at the NRCC, all of whom are backing Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava in the race.The nods of support from the three Republicans further cements the fact that Hoffman has moved from fringe candidate to a mainstream alternative on the right. In his letter endorsing the Conservative Party nominee, Cole called Hoffman “the only Republican who can win this special election.— Democrats seem to have arrived at that viewpoint, too, shifting their fire from Scozzafava to Hoffman and seeking to fundraise off the possibility that he could be elected to Congress.Cole, a member of the Republican Steering Committee, wrote that Hoffman “clearly represents the main stream values and positions of the Republican Party.— He declined to directly criticize Scozzafava, the subject of countless attacks from the right for her moderate record in the state Assembly, but he ticked off a number of issue areas where she and Hoffman diverge. “He opposes the stimulus, cap-and-trade, card check, the Democratic health care bill and the Obama administration’s reckless spending binge. He is a pro-life fiscal conservative who is committed to restraining the growth of government,— Cole wrote. Rohrbacher called Hoffman “the only candidate in the race that shares my conservative Republican principles,— and DeMint wrote in a piece on the conservative blog that, “Doug Hoffman has stepped forward and offered voters a better choice— in the race to succeed former Rep. John McHugh (R). McHugh resigned the 23rd district seat in September to become Army secretary.The endorsements came on the same day that the Hoffman campaign launched a new television ad featuring another GOP politician, former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.), who deems the candidate a “principled conservative.— The anti-tax group Club for Growth, whose endorsement of Hoffman in September provided the campaign its initial surge of momentum, also announced it would begin airing a new TV ad Tuesday in Watertown, Burlington and Syracuse highlighting the differences between Hoffman and attorney Bill Owens, the Democratic nominee. Scozzafava is not mentioned in the new spot.“This special election is now between Hoffman and Owens, and their economic records couldn’t be more different,— Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said in a release.Democrats clearly also agree with that assessment, and this week the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began running a TV ad that attacks Hoffman. In an e-mail to DCCC supporters Tuesday, veteran Democratic strategist Paul Begala raised the specter of Hoffman’s candidacy in the upstate New York race to solicit contributions. “The inmates have taken over the asylum, and are abandoning the Republican candidate in favor of the extreme conservative,— Begala wrote.“This could either be a cause for concern or a great opportunity,— he continued, urging readers to contribute to the DCCC and help get a “Democrat elected in a district that hasn’t sent a Democrat to Congress since 1852.—

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