Moderate Republicans Struggle to Hold On
Excerpts from "Moderate Republicans Struggle to Hold On"
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Moderate Republicans are off and running in the summer horse racing town of Saratoga Springs and other upstate New York cities, struggling to save their jobs and a dying political breed.
In a party dominated by conservatives, the last of the Northeast GOP moderates face several daunting election-year trends, including a strong top of the Democratic ticket in statewide races and growing discontent with President Bush, the Iraq war and the Republican-controlled Congress.
In states such as Connecticut, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, moderate Republicans are trying to remain more relevant than other '70s icons like disco music and white suits. Eight Republicans in those states are facing tough races.
In New York, a half dozen House incumbents are fighting off Democratic attempts to fuse them to Bush, whose approval rating stands at just 22 percent in the state. They hope that the party can get past its internal feuding to settle on candidates for senator and governor, and avoid no-shows at the polls in the fall.
Dominating the election ballot are two Democratic heavyweights -- New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is seeking a second term, and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the favorite in the governor's race. Three-term Republican Gov. George Pataki, his eyes on the White House, decided not to seek another term.
Polls show Clinton and Spitzer with large leads over their little-known Republican rivals in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 2-to-1. In addition to two Democratic senators, Democrats hold 20 House seats to nine for the GOP.