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It was just one short year ago that the world was looking to frozen northern New York for one of the Tea Party's first electoral tests: could 'Bagger Doug Hoffman, running on the Conservative line, take out both middle-of-the-road Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava and moderate Democrat Bill Owens?

We all know how that one ended: Scozzafava was driven out of the race by the national Tea Partiers, threw her support to Owens and made him the first Democrat to win that seat in something like a century.

Tonight, Hoffman's trying once again to get the Republican ballot line in NY-23, and does anyone care?

Since you've read this far, I'll assume that you, dear reader, do in fact care...and as of 10:48 PM EDT, here's what the NY Times has on the race, with about a third of the vote in:

Matthew Doheny   4,698   53%
Douglas Hoffman 4,215 47%

The Watertown Daily Times has what appears to be a more comprehensive count, which they say puts Hoffman 99 votes ahead of Doheny - but the votes that haven't been counted yet appear to be mostly in the western and southern parts of this sprawling district, which are not Hoffman's stronghold.

The winner faces Owens, now the incumbent, in the fall. I've seen no polling on this race at all, so I have no idea whether Owens fares better against loonbag Hoffman or (from what little I can tell) the more moderate Doheny.

(On the front page, Kos notes that Hoffman has promised to keep campaigning on the Constitution Party line even if he loses the GOP nomination, so I guess our best hope here is for Doheny to win and thus split the anti-Owens vote.)

UPDATE: Before I go to bed, here's the latest from the Watertown Daily Times:

Republican primary, 23rd Congressional District:

Hoffman Doheny Precincts reported
Clinton 1,577        893 38 of 70
Essex 609        520 0 of 0
Franklin 844     340 19 of 19
Fulton 817        767 24 of 24
Hamilton 247        379 11 of 11
Jefferson2,307   2,771 91 of 91
Lewis 728        755 100%
Madison 1,548        1,870 110 of 110
Oneida 590        719 12 of 15
Oswego 2,399        2,827 82 of 124
St. Lawrence 1,525 1,873 60 of 102
Total 13,191        13,714 448 of 567

Here's my read on this: the rest of the Clinton County (Plattsburgh) numbers will bring Hoffman close to a tie, but the rest of the Oswego and St. Lawrence County numbers will erase a chunk of that lead. I think the Times is right - this is going to the absentee ballots, of which they say there are 1,787 out.

Originally posted to ipsos on Tue Sep 14, 2010 at 07:55 PM PDT.

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