The special election in New York has no primary. That was a problem here. What happened was County Party Chairmen Committees handpicked the candidates. That's a big responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly.
Now right now, there is not a lot of tolerance on the right for fiscal liberals. I know upstate NY is a moderate area, and I would not be balking at a moderate being picked. Unfortunately, the republican picked was possibly most liberal of the three candidates, including the democrat.
Dede Scozzafava was endorsed by Daily Kos. She is pro-abortion, and pro-gay marriage. If she was fiscal conservative and social liberal, there probably would have been some balking not the same. She ran on the "Working Families" line in some state races. (NY can have people run under multiple parties). That party is tied to ACORN through their executive director Bertha Lewis. Scozzafava supported Obama's stimulus package, and has supported tax increases and card check. What's the difference between her and the democrat Bill Owens? Nothing. In fact, there are rumors about her switching parties which she considered in the past. Talk about being dealbreakers.
Many Republicans, including more moderate ones, have refused to support Scozzavava. As moderate Mary Matalin said in Politico
“We can disagree or compromise on marginal issues, but not freedom-quashing, government-grasping ones, like tax increases, anti-democratic card check, etc. Holding on to a seat won on those principles is worse than losing it,” she said. “Conversely, losing seats to articulate, conservative Democrats has proved to be the best defensive line holding back Obama’s expansive ambitions.”-----------
Now liberal republicans (providing they aren't rumored party switchers) would have been less of a problem awhile back. While some recent polls have Republicans beating democrats on a generic ballot and winning big with independent voters, the same polls also have only 20% of the population self-identifying as republicans. The people identifying as Conservatives have not changed much in years. The problem is that we are coming off of four years of big government Republicanism from 2002 to 2006, followed by big government bipartisanship from 06 to 08. Bush supported big government, and Obama supports big government on steroids. Both supported the banks bailout, which was the straw that broke the camel's back. We have a nearly 12 trillion deficit and the democrat senate wants to raise the debt ceiling even higher. GOP leadership in Washington hasn't shown that they gotten it yet. STOP SPENDING MONEY. When given the choice between democrat lite and democrats, people are going to vote for the real thing.
While there needs to be a big tent, we can not dillute the brands so much that there isn't a dimes worth of difference between the two parties. There needs to at least be basic principles of less government and more freedom. I understand that you can't run a Tom Coburn clone in the NY-23 district. It's rural and small city New England in character. Coburn doesn't sell there. However, polling shows that Scozzafava isn't selling either....in NY-23. She's being rejected THERE, not in Oklahoma. The democrat is currently leading with under 40% and 25% are breaking to the Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman, who is also a republican, but did not have the chance to run in a primary that didn't exist. He's a businessman and not a professional politician (and the only pro-life candidate).
In a three way race, a candidate can win with 34% if things break right, which they may very well do. If fiscal conservatives want to send a message, one will be given with a Scozzafava loss. A bigger one will be given with a win by Doug Hoffman. Doug's website is here
I don't usually support 3rd party candidates anymore for any major office. I usually vote for one in a minor office every election, often the university trustees section. That's it. Republicans can usually make their choice in primaries. A primary would have avoided this. Scozzafava would never get past a Republican primary for Congress, not even in New York City. Fiscal liberalism needs to be given the heave ho in the Republican Party if we expect congress to flip.
One last point. Scozzafava was not picked in a primary but by a committee of local county leadership there. That's often what happens in vacancies for township offices. It shows the importance of good county party leadership, and the responsibility given to the party leadership to pick good candidates who can win.
Here in Livingston County, Michigan, we may very well have to have our county party leadership make that decision in the clustermuck known as Hamburg Township if Matt Skiba is recalled (which I expect to happen). That one won't be easy, and I hope the LCGOP does things the right way to try and remedy the embarrassing shenanigans going on there in my county and by those running under the R banner (but whom I never see at GOP events).
So, how do you avoid a Scozzafava situation? It's simple. Make sure you have good leadership on county, district, and state levels of the GOP. Precinct delegates elect all of the above. It all comes back to us.