Update: Hoffman blames “party bosses” for Doheny defeat

In a statement released a few minutes ago, former Conservative and Republican Party candidate Doug Hoffman called for more unity going forward.

But then he laid the blame for Republican Matt Doheny’s defeat squarely at the feet of “the spoilers” who he identified as “the political bosses who have yet to come to that realization.”
The 23rd Congressional District’s 11 Republican County Chairs knew since January that I would be on the Conservative Party line and that I would have no legal way to get off it after July.

Yet, they endorsed Matt Doheny even though I had the grass-root support and momentum from the 2009 campaign to create a Republican/Conservative landslide in 2010.
The Republican bosses in the 23rd CD have to live up to their big tent philosophy. I am a living example that they did not.”
Obviously, many Republican leaders see this differently.

They’ve pointed out that Hoffman was named to the Conservative Party line without any primary or competitive process by “party boss” Michael Long.

The Watertown Daily Times’ Jude Seymour has this input from the Doheny campaign:

Alison M. Power, Mr. Doheny’s spokeswoman, said Mr. Hoffman refused repeated requests from Mr. Doheny to appear together in public, create a mailer, or cut a robocall in support. The Conservative candidate refused to do any of it, she said.

“He was unwilling to do anything to get a man elected with who he agreed with on 99 percent of the issues,” said Ms. Power. “So let the voter decide: Is it Doug’s ego or his true principles” that caused Mr. Doheny’s loss?

Meanwhile, UNYTEA chairman Mark Barie — a prominent tea party leader who supported Hoffman before switching to back Doheny — issued a statement today.
He blamed Doheny’s defeat in part to “widespread confusion as to whether or not Doug Hoffman was still in the campaign.”

“In the end, Mr. Owens garnered about as many votes this year as he did last year. But Mr. Doheny and Mr. Hoffman, the two fiscal conservatives in this race, received more than 52% of the total vote.”

So what do you think?  Is Doug Hoffman the spoiler…or the one who got spoiled by the party bosses?


18 Comments on “Update: Hoffman blames “party bosses” for Doheny defeat”

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  1. Bret4207 says:

    I think a great many people voted for Doug as a protest vote against Doheny and Owens, the same old, same old so to speak. However, Dougs statement is a fine example of why he’s always going to be the underdog. Your values are more or less in the right place Doug, but your timing and reasoning leave something to be desired.

  2. verplanck says:

    Shorter Hoffman: The Conservative party endorsed me, therefore you have to as well, or it’s all your fault!

  3. Matt says:

    I recall in the Sienna Poll that 12% would vote for hoffman, but after they were told Hoffman wasn’t running 4% still said Hoffman (numbers may be off a little).

    So i’d say maybe half voted for Hoffman as a protest. Regardless, verplank is right on: Some guy downstate decided to put hoffman of the ballot, so the primary voters were wrong to choose doheny.

    Hoffman’s 15 minutes were over last year. What a sore loser.

  4. phahn50 says:

    It looks like Doug Hoffman got Owens elected a 2nd time. Hope he (Mr Hoffman) runs again in 2 years.

  5. JDM says:

    Hoffman would have beat Owens.

    Will the GOP learn after two lessons learned. (probably not).

  6. JC says:

    Hoffman’s idea of “big tent” is apparently that the party could endorse only candidate = Hoffman and refuse to let the public have any say.

    And the part about Hoffman refusing to cooperate with the Doheny campaign says all that needs to be said about where Hoffman’s priorities truly were.

    Doug Hoffman was once the darling of the conservative movement. He’s now going to have to live with being the goat. Statements like this show that he’s not having an easy time living with it so far.

  7. PNElba says:

    Of course Hoffman would have beat Owens. Doug must run again in two years.

  8. Brian says:

    Yet again, Hoffman shows his true interest: his elitist self.

    He blames the party bosses but it wasn’t them who put Doheny on the GOP line. It was ordinary Republican votes, not the bosses, who did so.

    The only reason he was on the line was because of a party boss (Mike Long).

    The only way the party bosses could’ve resolved this “problem” would’ve been for them to pressure Doheny to drop out of the GOP race in favor of Hoffman. Again, Doug wants the elites to do his dirty work, to override the will of the ordinary voter.

    He has contempt for the ordinary voter and that’s why he’s been on the ballot 3 times and won 0.

  9. dave says:

    “Hoffman would have beat Owens.”

    Doheny would have beat Owen’s too, if not for Hoffman… couldn’t you also ask if the Tea Party will learn their lesson?

  10. DBW says:

    If the Hoffman vote was a protest vote, then it can’t be assumed that they would have voted for Doheny. In a two way Doheny-Owens race, the Hoffman vote may have simply have sat this one out, or enough of them may not have voted that Bill Owens would have still won.

    Doug Hoffman’s really impact may have been to break up the coalition that had regularly elected Republicans to congress. Both HOffman and Doheny have clearly underperformed compared to previous Republicans that consistently garnered 60-70% of the vote. Part of those margins was due to John McHugh obtaining a sizeable chunk of the labor vote. Both Doheny and Hoffman have written off that vote. The 2009 election brought moderate Republicans in NY-23 face to face with a more conservative national party, and that may have left many of them uneasy. Bill Owen needs to be given credit for pulling together enough votes to win. As a veteran he appeals to active military personnel as well as veterans. NRA support would appeal to other voters. It is not too hard to imagine moderate Republicans supporting Owens when Doheny and HOffman had very similar positions.

    Much of is being made of the 9500 voters who voted for Hoffman this year, but what about the 6000 voters who supported Scozzafava last year? Did a few hundred of them take their revenge on Doug Hoffman in the primary and support Doheny? And who did they vote for in this year”s election?

  11. Bret4207 says:

    Okay, so lets say all the Tea Party types that supported Doug had voted for Doheny. Then what would have been the point of voting at all? These arguments that Hoffmans supporters should have voted for someone they didn’t want goes right back to why we’re where we are today from a conservative POV. Keep pulling Row A or B and you get the same thing year after year after year. Pick and choose and actually think about character and ideals and intelligence (or at least what you can judge from political ads) and you stand firm to your values. I voted for Conservatives, Democrats and Republicans this last time around. I tired to vote for the best candidate. Arguing we should vote against the greater of the 2 evils is what got us here today.

    Better to stick to your guns than to play to the party.

  12. verplanck says:


    Regardless of the individual opinions of Hoffman or Doheny, they would both be votes for Speaker Boehner. Ownens is not, and that is the fundamental difference, not whether Doheny is ideologically pure.

    The House’s agenda is set by the national GOP leadership, and not by NY23’s congresscritter. The only thing of real importance is the rep’s vote for speaker of the house.

  13. DBW says:

    Our congressman’s first obligation is to the voters of his district, not the Speaker of the House, whether it is Nancy Pelosi or Mr. Boehner.

  14. Bret4207 says:

    Verplank, that’s where we share a fundamental disagreement. I look at people like Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul and see people supporting ideals and character. I may not agree with their positions, but IMO it’s better to have people with the backbone to do what they think is right and what their constituents want rather than just pushing the National Party agenda.

    Yes, I’m an idealist. Yes, I know it’s often wasted effort. But isn’t it better to be true to yourself than some political party?

  15. verplanck says:

    how do you push your agenda, though? Bernie caucuses with the Democrats, even though he is far to the left of any of them. Working on the inside, Bernie was able to get some of his priorities enacted, like increasing funding for rural health clinics in the HCR bill. He still is a vocal opponent of other Dem initiatives, like the financial regulation reform, but stays in a position of power/influence.

    Since there are 434 other congresscritters in the House, one voice will not be heard. If anyone decided to not vote for their party’s speaker, they will be shut out of everything and get NO chance to get their policies taken seriously.

    I totally understand your idealism; I am an idealist at heart as well. But the name of the game in Washington is cooperation. Such as it is in life in general. We all make compromises in order for us to get ahead.

  16. Brian says:

    “But isn’t it better to be true to yourself than some political party?”

    You’re absolutely right. Yet Hoffman still clings to “some political party” by seeking its nomination and slamming not only its party bosses but its ordinary voters when both reject him.

    He likes to blame the party bosses but it was the VOTERS who rejected him despite his active efforts on two separate occassions. If he feels the party has betrayed him (as though it has some loyalty to him), then he should reject the party and run as an independent or join a smaller party. That would show a lot more principle than throwing temper tantrums all the time.

  17. Brian says:

    If he continues to seek the GOP nod, then he continues to acknowledge that yes, party DOES matter. He can’t have it both ways, no matter how hard he tries.

  18. Bret4207 says:

    Well guys, at least we agree on the basic ideas. Thanks. We may not all agree on the specifics, but I can respect your points.

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