I write this in response to the Watertown Daily Times' editorial entitled "23rd race — Some of debate getting off track."
The opening paragraph of the editorial read, "The state Conservative Party's position on moderate Republican Dierdre K. Scozzafava is out of touch with reality." The writer went on to chastise both myself and the political party I chair for the simple fact that I have repeatedly referred to Assemblywoman Scozzafava as a "liberal." Let's take a look at the facts.
To call Dede Scozzafava a "moderate Republican" shows a blatant disregard for her stated beliefs, her voting record and her actions. To insinuate her liberal views are only on social issues shows an ignorance of her political career.
Every year the Conservative Party publishes a "Legislative Scorecard" which focuses on a broad spectrum of legislation (social, economic, criminal justice, etc) that our state senators and Assembly members vote on in Albany. Last year Ms. Scozzafava scored a 15 percent out of 100 percent, only 5 points higher than Assembly Majority Leader Sheldon Silver, an individual, who the majority of New Yorkers would agree is a liberal.
The more shocking fact found in the scorecard is this: 46 Democratic members of the New York state Legislature had a more conservative voting record than Dede Scozzafava! Faced with these facts, how can she be referred to as a "moderate" Republican? It would be stretch to even label her a "moderate Democrat."
Last November, Dede Scozzafava carried the endorsement of the ultra-liberal Working Families Party. She shared their ticket with Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Four years earlier she was on the ticket with John Kerry and John Edwards. Are these the actions of a "moderate Republican"? I think not.
Your editorial states: "What Ms. Scozzafava will not do is join an ineffective minority party which substitutes bluster for effective leadership." Was the writer unaware of her association with the Working Families Party, a minority party closely associated with the radical left agenda of ACORN, an organization that actively tries to disrupt the workings of the American political system?
The reason I call Dede Scozzafava a liberal is because she is one. Her votes on gay marriage, abortion, taxes and spending prove it. Her support from big labor, gay activists, pro-abortion and anti-death penalty groups reaffirms it.
Doug Hoffman is the only real Republican in this race. That's why I am supporting him.
He brings common-sense conservative views to the table, views that will appeal to like-minded Republicans, Conservatives, Democrats and Independents. He's a lifelong resident of the north country who has a track record of creating jobs and serving his community and is the rational choice to replace John McHugh in Congress.
On Election Day the voters of the 23rd Congressional District will have a clear choice between a pair of liberals and a common-sense conservative. In the end they will elect Doug Hoffman to Congress.
Michael R. Long is chairman of the New York State Conservative Party, a post he has held since 1988.