In his Monday Metro story "Republican, Pushed Out, Backs Democratic Rival," reporter Jeremy Peters relayed the news that liberal New York State Republican Dede Scozzafava, who dropped out of the special congressional race in upstate New York after being "exhausted and emotionally drained" by conservative attacks, is endorsing the Democrat against independent conservative Doug Hoffman.
An intensely watched Congressional race here that has become a battleground over the future of the Republican Party took another surprising turn on Sunday, when the Republican candidate - who ended her campaign a day earlier - announced that she was endorsing the Democrat.
The endorsement only intensified the intra-party fighting that has characterized the bitter contest, as Republicans denounced their former nominee, Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, calling her a turncoat who was a member of the party in name only.
"Setback" might be an overstatement:
Ms. Scozzafava's endorsement was a setback for Mr. Hoffman, whose candidacy has been gaining considerable momentum. He was caught off guard by the news and learned of it from reporters.
Peters sympathized with the liberal Republican's plight, blaming conservatives for leaving Scozzafava "emotionally drained by the attacks," while strewing around redundant "conservative" labels. And didn't Scozzafava paint herself as someone "disloyal to the Republican Party" when she endorsed the Democrat?
Exhausted and emotionally drained by the attacks from conservatives seeking to paint her as a liberal who was disloyal to the Republican Party, Ms. Scozzafava said she needed time to decide whether she could endorse Mr. Owens, said one person with knowledge of the meeting, who spoke requested anonymity in order to reveal details of private conversations.
The White House was closely monitoring the situation all weekend. A Democratic win in the Republican-leaning district would bolster the party while it is battling over health care reform in Congress and facing rising popular skepticism over its leadership in Washington.
Conservative Republicans who want to discourage the party from backing candidates they deem too moderate are also seizing on the race's national significance.
"We have a real opportunity to send a real message to Washington," Mr. Thompson wrote on Red State, a conservative blog. "Now, let's finish the job."
An October 26 editorial on Scozzafava, written before she quit. blasted conservative Republicans for not opening the party's "big tent" to her liberal views. (Conservative suspicions were later vindicated when Scozzafava endorsed the Democrat in the race.)
Dede Scozzafava, a six-term assemblywoman whose record includes refreshing tinges of centrism. Ms. Scozzafava was nominated by local party leaders as eminently electable despite - or because of - her defense of women's abortion rights and her tolerant views on same-sex marriage.
Say what you want about abortion rights and support for same-sex marraige, but they aren't "centrist" stands, but liberal ones.