Candidates Dropping Out

November 2, 2009 - 5:43 AM
On Saturday, Republican candidate Dierdre Scozzafava announced she was dropping out of the special election to fill the vacancy in New York's 23rd congressional district. On Sunday, one of the candidates for president of Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah, announced he was dropping out, too.
On Saturday, the Republican candidate in the special Congressional election to fill the vacancy in NY-23, Dierdre Scozzafava, announced she was dropping out. This, three days before the election. She had been running third in the polls behind the Democrat and the Conservative.
 
On Sunday, one of the candidates for President of Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah, announced he was dropping out. This, six days before the election.
 
On Sunday, the Republican candidate in upstate New York endorsed the Democrat instead of the Conservative.
 
No endorsement from Abdullah Abdullah, but I think the chances of him endorsing either the current President, Hamid Karzai, or the head of the Taliban (and former leader of Afghanistan), Mullah Omar, are thin.
 
As of this writing, no candidates have dropped out of the Governors' races in Virginia or New Jersey; nor the Mayor's race in New York City, but we have time.
 
We'll get back to the NY-23 race in a minute, but first let's look at Afghanistan.
 
According to the Times of London, Abdullah did not tell his supporters to boycott the election, but Abdullah's decision threw the process into confusion, with [Afghan] election officials insisting that the run-off should go ahead with only one candidate, while Western diplomats pressed for it to be cancelled because of the risk of a low turnout and Taliban attacks.
 
It's a little hard to make the case that we're successfully bringing democracy to Afghanistan when the first election was delayed for about four months -- then, when the election was held in August, the results were thrown out because of widespread fraud, and now the people of Afghanistan will have only one candidate to vote for.
 
If you are Barack Obama, you are not looking forward to having to work with a guy whose strengths were summarized by the Associated Press thus: “President Hamid Karzai's leadership is weak, his government corrupt and nearly a third of the votes he won in the August election were thrown out as fakes.”
 
Oh, yeah. This is going to have a happy ending.
 
In upstate New York, Republican John McHugh resigned his Congressional seat in September to become the Secretary of the Army. Under New York party rules, the local GOP county organizations picked Ms. Scozzafava to be the Republican nominee, running against the Democrat Bill Owens.
 
NY-23 is a heavily Republican district, so this looked like a good change for the GOP to get off the schnied in losing special elections.
 
Ms. Scozzafava is married to a regional labor organizer, is in favor of card-check, and a whole bunch of other non-core-Republican programs.
 
In New York there is a line on the ballot for a candidate nominated by the Conservative Party. Very often the GOP nominee gets the Conservative "line" as well.
 
But, not this time.
 
The Conservatives nominated a guy named Doug Howard who does not live in the District, but is true to Conservative principals.
 
Nevertheless, the National Republican Congressional Committee and other big-time Republicans supported her on the grounds that the locals know their District and having someone like Howard in the race splitting the GOP vote might well give the seat to the Democrat Owens.
 
I agreed. Someone e-mailed me the other day saying that people like me who live in Washington don't understand what is going on out in the "hustings." I responded that upstate New York is as "hustings" as it gets and they picked Scozzafava.
 
I have spent my adult life helping to elect Republicans all across the GOP spectrum. The only vote I care about is the first one: will it be for the Republican candidate for Speaker (in the House) or Majority Leader (in the Senate)? After that first vote they're someone else's problem.
 
Nevertheless Conservatives around the nation got behind the Howard campaign, raised him a ton of money and, in polls released at the end of last week, he was running neck-and-neck with the Democrat Owens. Scozzafava was falling into a distant third.
 
Saturday she dropped out; yesterday she endorsed the Democrat. We'll see what happens on Tuesday in New York and on Saturday in Afghanistan.
 
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to Scozzafava's statement and the London Times analysis of the state of play in Afghanistan. Also a GREAT Mullfoto segment and a Catchy Caption of the Day.