Conservative Party special election nominee Doug Hoffman isn't too up-to-speed on the local issues in upstate New York, it turns out.

From a reporter's take on an editorial interview with the Watertown Daily Times:

When asked about the rooftop highway that could connect Watertown to Plattsburgh, Mr. Hoffman said he was "open to reviewing and studying it."

When asked about winter navigation on the St. Lawrence Seaway, he took no position. When asked about widening and deeping the Seaway, he again said nothing.

The atmosphere was tense, at times.

Mr. Hoffman said at one point that if we were going to question him, that he needed to know in advance what we were going to ask him about.

That's not the way it works. Mr. Hoffman would likely find that out if he kept his commitment to the Clifton-Fine Development Corp.'s "meet-the-candidates" night tonight in Wanakena, instead of ditching them for an appearance on Glenn Beck's television show.

(UPDATE: WWNY-TV is reporting that Mr. Hoffman's appearance with Mr. Beck is off, but that he will "not attend the Wanakena event anyway because he would be doing national press interviews.")

Constituents ask questions about subjects that impact their lives, just as our publisher asked questions that he believes are in the best interests of our readers.

Dick Armey, the former House majority leader, watched as the back-and-forth unfolded. And then he offered an argument that we'll know is right or wrong on Nov. 3. The former Texas congressman said that Mr. Johnson had the right to base his endorsement on parochial issues, not national ones. But Mr. Armey said this race was going to be won or lost on national issues - taxes and the economy to name two - instead of issues of only local importance.

Hoffman seems to be opening himself to charges that he's not concerned about local issues or getting to know his district. And in a House race, that could be a problem.