Things are getting hectic in New York's 23rd District, where a conservative insurgent campaign mounted by accountant Doug Hoffman has been bedeviling the candidacy of GOP establishment favorite and Lewis County Assemblywoman Dierdre "Dede" Scozzafava.
How hectic is it getting? Apparently, the Scozzafava campaign is straight up calling the police to run off reporters from The Weekly Standard. John McCormack relates an encounter he had with the fuzz, immediately following a Scozzafava event:
I spotted Scozzafava later as she was walking to the parking lot, and asked her: "Assemblywoman, do you believe that the health-care bill should exclude coverage for abortion?" She didn't reply. I asked her twice more. Silence.
After she got into her car, I went to my car and fired up my laptop to report the evening's events.
Minutes later a police car drove into the parking lot with its lights flashing. Officer Grolman informed me that she was called because "there was a little bit of an uncomfortable situation" and then took down my name, date of birth, and address.
"Maybe we do things a little differently here, but you know, persistence in that area, you scared the candidate a little bit," Officer Grolman told me.
"[Scozzafava] got startled, that's all," Officer Grolman added. "It's not like you're in any trouble."
Over at the Washington Independent, Dave Weigel has a great soup-to-nuts profile on everything that's been going on with the race in the 23rd District, as Scozzafava has faced stiff opposition from an array of conservative movement-types who've made the race "this election cycle's great conservative crusade."
Two weeks out from the election, the battle in upstate New York is being portrayed in the press as a "civil war" between Republican factions. That might understate how much support for Hoffman, and how little for Scozzafava, there is in the conservative movement. As far as the roiling Republican base is concerned, support for Hoffman has become a test of whether a conservative leader can be trusted. Conservative media, from magazines to blogs, are using the low-stakes special election to test their ability to drive news cycles and raise money.