Opinion: Scozzafava, the moderate banished by conservatives, vows to fight for the soul of the GOP

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Last week, she dropped out of the race for New York’s 23rd congressional district, throwing her support (with a friendly push from the Obama White House) to the eventual winner, Democrat Bill Owens. The move was a political stunner, an attempt to thwart conservative Doug Hoffman, who was surging in the polls after attracting support from such heroes of the right as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and setting off a blood feud within the Republican Party between pragmatists and ideologues.

This week, in retaliation, Republicans in the Assembly stripped Dede Scozzafava of her leadership position there.

But the moderate Republican assemblywoman, who counts herself a champion of local politics over ideological purity, says she has no regrets and may even run for Congress again -- as a Republican.

‘How can Sarah Palin come out and endorse someone who can’t answer some basic questions,’ Scozzafava said in her first lengthy interview in today’s Washington Post. ‘Do these people even know who they are endorsing?’


Bemused by commentators who now use her name as a verb -- as in Florida Gov. Charlie Crist could be ‘scozzfaved’ as a moderate in the Republican Party’s bruising Senate primary fight -- she thinks there are more of her than of them.

‘There is a lot of us who consider ourselves Republicans, of the Party of Lincoln,’ she said. ‘If they don’t want us with them, we’re going to work against them.’

-- Johanna Neuman

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