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Bill Owens (D NY-21), who never should have been elected, retires

Bill Owens (D NY-21), who never should have been elected, retires

For those of you who have been reading Legal Insurrection since the early days, the name Bill Owens may be familiar.

Owens won the 2009 special election in what then was the NY-23 District (since reconfigured and now NY-21) against the insurgent conservative candidate Doug Hoffman.  In a precursor to the Tea Party uprising, Hoffman ran as a third party candidate and was surging ahead of liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava in a traditionally Republican District.

Robert Stacy McCain did extensive on-the-ground reporting on the race, and has a special emnity for mainstream Republican endorsements of Scozaffava from Newt Gingrich and others:

Twitter RS McCain Hoffman

The Hoffman surge also was a chance for Democrats to test the Tea Party Demonization strategy that continues to this day.

Rather than allow the conservative to win, Scozzafava dropped out of the race and backed Democrat Owens.  The influential Watertown Times also switched its endorsement based on Owens’ promise to keep bringing home federal port to the district, something Hoffman opposed as a fiscal conservative.

Here are some posts from way back:

Owens barely held off challenges in 2010 and 2012, is what still is a Republican district. In 2010 there was a three-way race in which Hoffman again participated, and in 2012 Owens defeated Matt Doheny, who was part of our Operation Counterweight.

Now he’s retiring in a cycle when he would not benefit from a three-way race, and his pro-Obamacare positions would be a hard sell.

Politico reports:

Democratic Rep. Bill Owens of New York will not run for reelection in November, he announced Tuesday — dealing another blow to the party’s prospects of winning control of the House.

In the past two months, three Democrats — Owens, Utah Rep. Jim Matheson, and North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre — have announced their retirements from seats that could swing to Republicans. The GOP is trying to protect a 17-seat advantage in the House

Owens’s swing district, which encompasses a swath of upstate New York, broke for President Barack Obama in the past two elections. But Republicans are bullish about their prospects for winning the 21st district in 2014, especially with Owens — who cut a moderate profile — no longer seeking reelection. Republican Elise Stefanik, a former George W. Bush aide, has launched a campaign for the seat.

Prior to the announcement the Republican field was getting crowded.

We’ll see how it sorts out, but NY-21 seems like a good candidate for Operation Counterweight 2014.

Update: NY21: Doug Hoffman Endorses Elise Stefanik (h/t @TennLion):

Divisions between the Republican party and conservative activists have helped hand a competitive upstate New York congressional seat to Democrat Bill Owens in recent years, but 2014 may be the year when all factions unite behind one candidate.

Republican Elise Stefanik has already won the endorsements of a handful GOP county committees in New York’s 21st congressional district, and in an interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD Thursday afternoon, Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate who challenged Democrat Owens and liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava in a 2009 special election, announced his endorsement of Stefanik.


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Barack Obama, via Obamacare, has done more to rid congress of Democrats than has the establishment GOP, which ought to be embarrassed, albeit with a smile.

    He doesn’t care. Why should he? He got what he wanted. And he survived the blow-out of 2010. Just as he’ll survive the blowout of 2014. It’s the long game he and the Left are playing. Losing a House here or a Senate there is the price for fundamental transformation. And it’s a small price in the larger scheme of things. If he ever needs to calm any bouts of nervous palsy he may suffer, I’m sure he just scans the ranks of the GOP, assured in the knowledge of their total, perpetual and congenital impotence.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to raven. | January 16, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      I think it has more to do with hapless ineptitude than any inscrutably devious long game. Barack Obama is the ultimate extrapolation of the dangers of affirmative action.

        I don’t think it’s inscrutable at all, and only partially devious. And there most definitely is a long game. The Left has been talking openly for 75 years about nationalizing healthcare (has the GOP been talking for 75 years about limiting the size of government?). The Left simply found someone with the audacity and pertinacity to pull it off. It wasn’t Obama’s ineptitude that got Obamacare passed — it was his totally relentless drive to get it passed. Nothing inscrutable about it. The ineptitude was in the management, as we all knew it would be, as the sprawling elements of healthcare were never going to be efficiently consolidated or managed by government. But does that matter to a Leftist? The point was, making it law. And they did. Ineptitude is a separate matter from the Left’s determination to get their way, for which the GOP simply hasn’t the wits, courage or capacity to respond or form resistance.

          Henry Hawkins in reply to raven. | January 16, 2014 at 1:46 pm

          Obama didn’t pass the bill. He signed it. Congress passed it via some truly devious means.

          Of course political factions have long and short plans. My original post speaks only to Obama. In my opinion, he’s just an affirmative action bumbler covered for by the media and opportunistic liberals. Obama is who I don’t believe has any inscrutable long term plan. He’s the epitome of ‘winging it’ and his results are consistent with that.

          janitor in reply to raven. | January 16, 2014 at 8:04 pm

          I agree.

“promise to keep bringing home federal port”

Federal port? I hope at least it was American, and not bottled in China.

Obamacare is curing the nation of Progressivism.

Elise Stefanik give a presentation last evening at the Washington County Republican Committee meeting. She is an extremely impressive individual and will be a strong candidate for the Republican Party. I am sure that Republicans and Conservatives will unite behind her.
It will be difficult for the Democrats to find a candidate as well-spoken and energetic.