Their revolt against the establishment GOP was fueled by a million dollars from the Club for Growth, supported by hundreds of Christian Right volunteers [1, 2, 3] and had muted culture war rhetoric.
As if to underline NY-23's role as a test of the Christian Right, anointed one, Conservative Party candidate Hoffman, had an enviable litany of the Right endorsements:
- Sarah Palin
- James Dobson
- Mike Huckabee: Huc PAC made getting Huffman elected a top priority.
- Concerned Women for America PAC
- Family Research Council PAC
- Gary Bauer, who forecast a change Americans can believe in.
- National Organization for Marriage
- New York Right to Life PAC
- Susan B. Anthony List
When the results came down, out-of-state supporters busied themselves spinning defeat to their advantage, Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele rebuked them for naively assuming they could determine the outcome in NY-23 and loser Hoffman pitifully mumbled in his concession speech:
I believe America is turning the page to a new dawn.
Casting a historic loss as a "new dawn," or accepting it as Bauer's "near win," is at least arguably delusional.
The Christian Right tried to keep pace with the larger right wing drum and bugle corps, whose leaders bought RedState blogger and editor Erick Erickson's argument that the Hoffman race was "a hill to die on."
Die there they did.