Shadegg: NY-23 race 'emblematic of fight' within GOP

Today's closely watched special election in New York is "emblematic of the fight" currently facing the Republican party, one House GOPer suggested Monday.

Republicans have increasingly lined up behind Doug Hoffman, a Conservative Party candidate running for a House seat in New York's 23rd congressional district, since the GOP's Dede Scozzafava dropped out of the race this past weekend.

Many in the party have since tried to dismiss the in-fighting that to some degree compelled Scozzafava's unexpected exit on Saturday. But Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) on Monday argued the race's tumult has mostly to do with voters' lingering frustration with both political parties and their respective ideologies.

"Quite frankly, this is emblematic of the fight going on within the Republican Party," he told CNN. "But, more importantly than that, it's where Americans are right now."

ADVERTISEMENT
"Quite frankly, I think Americans are unhappy with politicians of every stripe, whether they're Republican, Democrat, or independent," he added. "I think what you're seeing in this race is the manifestation of that frustration."

Shadegg's line is slightly different than the approach taken by his top GOP colleagues. Although House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) did admit Sunday that the dispute over whether to support Scozzafava or Hoffman was quite messy, he stressed the party has healed its minor wounds and would still function as an open tent.

Shadegg, however, seemed to cast the special election instead as a referendum on the two political parties, but he somewhat backtracked from that position by the end of his interview.

"Moderates are still very much welcome in the party," Shadegg said. "We just nominated or are in the process, I think, of nominating a moderate from the Republican House conference for the Senate in Delaware. Moderates are more than welcome.

"This isn't an internecine party fight," he added, slightly backtracking on his initial remark. "The story here is Americans are upset with politicians who are out of touch."