GOP Congressman calls Cornyn's support for Hoffman hypocritical

A Florida Republican lawmaker on Monday accused Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) of hypocrisy for supporting the Conservative Party nominee in the New York special election and backing centrist GOPer Gov. Charlie Crist (Fla.) in the state's Senate primary.

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) said in a Facebook note in that he National Senatorial Campaign Committee chairman's support for Hoffman is "ironic since [he] tried to force [Marco Rubio] out of the Primary in Florida."

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Cornyn late Sunday said that the local upstate New York Republican Party that nominated moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava "paid the price" for doing so without holding a primary election. Scozzafava dropped out of the race to replace former Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.) on Saturday, citing poor polling and fundraising.

Several conservative leaders and 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls supported Hoffman in the special election to be held tomorrow, saying that Scozzafava holds too many liberal views. Grass roots conservatives largely led the effort to back Hoffman, many of whom also objected to the national Republican Party's initial backing of Scozzafava.

Miller's criticism of Cornyn demonstrates the deep rift in the Republican Party partly hastened by the special election. 

Conservative activists have launched similar efforts to support Rubio, who formerly served as Florida House Speaker. Rubio has trailed Crist in the polls in a race to fill a Sen. Mel Martinez's (R-Fla.) old seat now held by placeholder Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) But Rubio has gained on Crist in recent weeks.

Cornyn endorsed Crist in May, making him the first lawmaker to gain the support of the organization in a competitive Republican primary this election cycle.

Some on the right questioned Crist's conservative credentials earlier this year for supporting the federal stimulus package and for appearing with President Barack Obama at a February event touting the measure. Crist did not join Obama during his visit to Florida last week.

"Why are they trying to shut out the conservative vote in Florida? How come NY 'paid the price' for picking nominee but it would be ok for FL to do the same in the Senate," wrote Miller.