GOP House Candidates Rush to Back Hoffman in New York Special

Posted October 30, 2009 at 11:27am

Conservative candidates running for Congress next year are weighing in on the special election in New York’s 23rd district by publicizing their support for Doug Hoffman, a conservative accountant who is running ahead of moderate state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R) and about even with attorney Bill Owens (D).

For these candidates, endorsing Hoffman gives them an opportunity to burnish their conservative credentials in heavily Republican districts where primaries dominated by conservative activist are the decisive election. Party activists from around the country are no doubt watching a race that has drawn substantial national attention for the fissure it has exposed between establishment Republicans who are backing Scozzafava and the party’s ultraconservative wing that is pro-Hoffman.

Hoffman was endorsed Thursday by Mike Pompeo, Kansas’ Republican national committeeman who is one of several candidates running in the Wichita-based 4th district, which Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R) is giving up to run for Senate. Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Tiahrt’s primary opponent in the Senate race, also endorsed Hoffman on Thursday.

Pompeo said Thursday that he could not support electing “someone who supports nearly all of the liberal agenda simply because they have a Republican label. … I am a proud Republican, but I am a conservative first.—

The conservative leanings are even stronger in Georgia’s northern 9th district, where state Rep. Tom Graves (R) later Thursday announced his support for Hoffman as he campaigns to succeed Rep. Nathan Deal (R), a candidate for governor. The district Graves seeks to represent is one of the most Republican areas in the nation.

Earlier in the week, Hoffman got an endorsement — and a campaign check — from auctioneer Billy Long, who is one of three well-funded candidates in a GOP primary that surely will determine the successor to Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who is running for Senate.

“I am pleased to back a fellow conservative for U.S. Congress,— said Long, whose chief primary opponents are state Sens. Gary Nodler and Jack Goodman in a district that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) carried with 63 percent of the vote in 2008.

In Oklahoma, former state Rep. Kevin Calvey (R) on Wednesday proclaimed his support for Hoffman as he campaigns to succeed Rep. Mary Fallin (R) in the Oklahoma City-based 5th district. Fallin, who is running for governor, also backed Hoffman on Thursday.

Calvey contended that the “Republican Party establishment’s nomination of an ultraliberal for Congress symbolizes why the Republican Party lost Congress a few years ago.—

Calvey’s campaign is backed by the Club for Growth, a conservative group that is backing Hoffman’s effort. Calvey is running in a Republican primary that includes state Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud and state Rep. Mike Thompson.