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NY-23 Lives!

Lessons from the recent race in this congressional district.

2:42 PM, Jan 22, 2010 • By KENNETH Y. TOMLINSON
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Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long has made a point to reach out to Republican leaders in the 23rd, making the case that a unified front can beat Owens this fall. Some who do not know Long were surprised that the party chief so firmly insisted that the Conservative party line was Hoffman’s for the asking this year.  (That is before the McLaughlin polls showed Hoffman so popular.) Hoffman is by no means a polished speaker, and there are those who thought Long would be open to a more conventional political choice.  (Hoffman, an accountant who along with his children, has a number of small businesses insists Congress needs more members who can read balance sheets as opposed to professional politicians who can give speeches.)

Others hope a longer campaign will provide the opportunity to tell Hoffman’s remarkable personal story.  He and his four siblings were raised by a single mother in Saranac Lake, and from childhood he worked at demanding jobs to help provide for the family.  He went on to a distinguished accounting career (at age 27 he was the corporate controller of the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee.)  Hoffman is most impressive sitting around a table talking with friends—or strangers.

Having ObamaCare as a major issue should also work to Hoffman’s advantage, if indeed national health care becomes the focus of the campaign.  To understand what Democrats are proposing with national health care, a lifetime in accounting could prove to be a political asset.

Kenneth Y. Tomlinson is a former editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest.

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