It’s a Grand Old Purging as moderate’s ouster spotlights Republican dysfunction
Gouverneur, N.Y. — Over Halloween weekend, Dede Scozzafava morphed from a rosy-cheeked Republican mom to a political figure of speech.
“My name’s a verb now,” she said.
A little-known state assemblywoman with moderate Republican views and a mouthful of a surname, Scozzafava’s bid for an open seat in New York’s 23rd Congressional District drew trash talk from conservative leaders hoping to purge her from the party, mash notes from White House-dispatched Democratic suitors that included Bill Clinton, and the unblinking gaze of political professionals fascinated by her role as the problem child for a dysfunctional Republican Party.
Even as she now hopes to return to her normal life of local politics, laundry and choir practice for next month’s big performance of Bach’s Christmas Cantatas, the political forces that swept her up have not entirely let her go. Last week, while watching a news show about the next sharply contested Senate Republican primary in Florida, her parents reported that one of the commentators asked whether the moderate was in peril of getting “Scozzafaved.”