Doug Hoffman today got the official endorsement of former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and likened his congressional campaign to the U.S. hockey team's upset victory in the 1980 Winter Olympics.
"Let's go back to Lake Placid," said Hoffman, who worked as a financial officer for the Olympiad near his hometown of Saranac Lake. "We're going to create a miracle on Nov. 3. . . . That miracle starts today."
After weeks of a low-profile campaign in the upstate 23rd District special election, suddenly national media attention is focused on the race. Liberal Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava appears to be in meltdown mode and Hoffman is now riding a "tsunami" of momentum, one campaign source confided this morning.
"This is a race between the conservative and the Democrat," Armey, now chairman of Freedomworks, said in his speech endorsing Hoffman. A standing-room-only crowd of supporters repeatedly interrupted with chants of "Go, Doug, Go."
While Scozzafava has the endorsement of Armey's former congressional colleague Newt Gingrich and the support of the national GOP, grassroots volunteers from the Tea Party movement have bouyed the campaign of Hoffman, running on the Conservative Party line.
"The Republican candidate can't win," Armey declared, saying that Gingrich "made the wrong choice" in backing Scozzafava, a New York state assemblywoman whose record puts her to the left of most Democrats here in this largely rural district, where Republican Rep. John McHugh routinely won re-election with 2-to-1 margins.
Hoffman will appear this afternoon on the popular Glenn Beck television program and, according to sources with the campaign, has seen his fundraising take off in recent days. He reportedly raised $30,000 online Tuesday, was effectively endorsed by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday and today received the endorsement of Ohio's Ken Blackwell, a nationally recognized conservative leader.
Clearly the secret of Hoffman's surge has been his strong support from grassroots activists, many of whom have never been involved in a political campaign before.
"I've always said that hard work beats Daddy's money," Armey told supporters here at Hoffman's storefront local office, on Court Street between a trophy shop and a pub. "We're going to have to outwork the other guys."
UPDATE (12:15): According to a Hoffman campaign source, Beck's producers have canceled the scheduled appearance by the candidate on the 5 PM Fox News Channel program. However, Beck is expected to discuss the NY-23 election during the show.
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