How important is the President Obama fundraiser for Bill Owens ?
Very important. It is a sign that internal polling shows what some observers suspect and that is that Mr. Owens is at worst competitive and at best actually winning the race.
And in the race for cash, the President is likely to raise about $400,000, maybe more, in one session. Since the ad buys so far show opponent Scozzafava is cash poor, this kind of cash will be huge.
Meanwhile, Dierdre Scozzafava will find herself in Manhattan next week to raise money. While the amounts will be smaller, Ms. Scozzafava will be tested on her views. Donors will want to know her ideas and her support for card check.....the stimulus package and possibly the health care public option may be problematic with those who write checks to GOP candidates. She could have similar problems with the 170 or GOP members of Congress, all of whom could write $2300 checks but may be hesitant, feeling she is too liberal.
As I have said, a litmus test comes with the Working Families Party nod. Ms. Scozzafava has been seeking the opinions of party leaders who likely have told her not to take it. If she takes their nomination, she is done in this race. It's that simple.
A major conservative endorsement could come October 27 when former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks to a central New York conservative group in Liverpool. If Huckabee visits the district to embrace Conservative Doug Hoffman, that means the GOP is done with DeDe, and content to see Owens win with 40% in hopes of knocking him off in 2010.
In fact whoever wins this race will have a low enough percentage to make a 2010 rematch a certainty.
The President's involvement will likely help Owens, but the race is by no means over. Scozzafava has strong constituencies out there and a friendly media in the western end of the district.
Look for the pace of the race to pick up. This is a fascinating race with national implications. And it is likely to remain close.