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Given how much of a trainwreck he became in the closing days of the campaign, the entry of this particular high profile Republican candidate might actually be good news for the Democratic incumbent:

Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in the NY-23 special election in 2009, has officially announced that he's running again this year against Democratic Rep. Bill Owens, who defeated Hoffman last fall.

Hoffman announced in a press release Monday night that he would be seeking the nominations of the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties, "and unite them, as one team, to defeat the agenda of Nancy Pelosi and Bill Owens."

Hoffman's bluster about uniting those forces as one team might prove to be a bit silly. After all, many Independence Party folks, when confronted with the option of Hoffman or Owens last November, went with Owens. In fact, the chairman of the party lamented that they had not gone with Owens all along.

Aside from that, the idea of Doug Hoffman as "uniter and not a divider" is pretty preposterous on its face.

You might recall that Hoffman, who was on the Conservative line for the 2009 special election to replace former longtime GOP Rep. John McHugh, attacked the GOP nominee, state legislator DeDe Scozzafava, with so much ferocity that many prominent conservatives endorsed his candidacy instead. Her campaign in tatters, with prominent supporters suddenly shifting into neutral, she made the incredibly surprising decision to scuttle her candidacy on the weekend before the election.

Hoffman could have benefitted from a clear shot at the Democrat. Instead, he alienated the remaining Scozzafava voters with his taunting, sneering response to the suspension of her candidacy. This, in turn, led Scozzafava to endorse the Democrat in the race, Bill Owens.

After a bizarre election day in which Hoffman bellowed about ACORN slashing his tires, only to learn that his staffer ran over a broken bottle, Owens emerged victorious by two points.

Incidentally, Hoffman will find another fairly well-known GOP legislator in the field in 2010, as state Assemblyman Will Barclay is already in the race. Hoffman did announce that he would be seeking multiple lines on the ballot: the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines. This, of course, sets up the possibility of a scenario very similar to 2009 should Barclay manage to win the GOP primary. While the Independence line might be a tough get for Hoffman, it is hard to imagine him being denied the Conservative Party line.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 10:50 AM PST.

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