There's more fallout from Tuesday's special election in upstate New York.
The Republican National Committee initially supported the official GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava, but quickly switched when conservatives rallied around third-party candidate Doug Hoffman. Scozzafava withdrew, but she won enough votes on Tuesday to deny victory to Hoffman -- and hand the seat to a Democrat for the first time in more than a century. That soured an otherwise good night for Republicans, who won races for governor in New Jersey and Virginia.
Since the election, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, following the lead of conservatives, has insisted that there is no deep division within his party. But at the same time, he is warning moderates to toe the party line -- an admonition that echoes loudly in New England, where less conservative Republicans are trying to make a comeback.
"Candidates who live in moderate to slightly liberal districts have got to walk a little bit carefully here, because you do not want to put yourself in a position where you’re crossing that line on conservative principles, fiscal principles, because we’ll come after you,” Steele told ABC News. “You’re gonna find yourself in a very tough hole if you’re arguing for the president’s stimulus plan or Nancy Pelosi’s health plan. There’s no justification for growing the size of government the way this administration and this Congress wants to do it.”
That brought this from Democratic National Committee spokesman Hari Sevugan: "With today's threat to 'come after' moderate Republicans or those that would work for bipartisan solutions, it's clear the Michael Steele and the Republican party are ready to hand over the keys of the GOP to Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck and the rest of the extremist tea party crowd. And in establishing a policy of purging moderates, the Republicans have committed themselves to being an extreme ideological party that will only turn-off independent voters and further marginalize an already isolated party going into 2010 and beyond."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.