From the National Journal, February 2, 2010.
“Hoffman: GOP, Tea Partiers Must Work Together”
“When Doug Hoffman, running on the Conservative Party line, was narrowly defeated by Democrat Bill Owens for New York’s 23rd Congressional District seat, some might have thought this was a fluke. But after Republican Scott Brown captured the Senate seat in Massachusetts, Hoffman’s near-win has been seen as a momentum-builder for conservatives and the Tea Party movement.”
“While he hasn’t announced his candidacy yet, a McLaughlin & Associates poll released last month showed 74 percent of Republicans in the district agreeing that Hoffman deserves another chance at the seat. NationalJournal.com caught up with Hoffman last week to ask him about his plans for November.
NJ: If you do decide to run, would you be running as a Conservative candidate or vying for the Republican nomination?
Hoffman: I’m going to try to get both of the tickets — the Republican ticket and the Conservative line.
NJ: One activist told me that the Tea Partiers are keeping the GOP “at arm’s length.” Given this attitude, do you think that running under the GOP umbrella might turn off some Tea Party voters or independent voters?
Hoffman: The people that supported me and came out to support me knew that I was a lifelong Republican and knew that I was fighting for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, so I don’t think it will turn it off. I think I can be the catalyst, especially in the 23rd District, to bring the two movements together and work effectively, not only for my campaign but for the other Republicans in the district.
NJ: How would you compare the reception that you’re getting from national Republican Party leaders this time around to that from last election?
Hoffman: 180 degrees. They’re very enthusiastic, receptive, and we’re going to work together to win in 2010.
NJ: Are you making plans to improve your ground game?
Hoffman: If I do make the announcement to run, I am certainly going to tap into the help that I received from the Tea Party organization. Now, I realize that across the country I won’t get the support I had the last time because they’re going to be busy in their own districts, but within my district we have a lot of volunteers that came from the Tea Party movement who are ready, willing and eager to get re-involved in my campaign.
NJ: While a lot of Tea Party groups agree on policy, there is some disagreement on how to meet those goals — whether it is forming their own party or taking over the GOP or just acting as a check on the GOP. What, in your mind, should be the goal of the Tea Party movement?
Hoffman: Well, I don’t think it’s a taking over of the Republican Party, I think it’s bringing them together, to work effectively together to achieve the common goal. … Not everybody running on the Conservative line can get 46 1/2 percent of the votes. In reality, we need to work together to win together.”