The Week Magazine - News reviews and opinion, arts, entertainment & political cartoons At the beginning of the summer, most observers expected Republicans to win all three of the big elections on Nov. 3. Two weeks out, it suddenly looks very possible that Republicans will win only one: the Virginia governor's race. The other two will be lostnot to superior Democratic organizing and messaging, but to the GOP's own divisions. By all rights, the special election in New York's 23rd Congressional District should be a Republican cakewalk. Stretching across the hunting and fishing towns along the Great Lakes and Canadian border, the district contains Fort Drum, base of the 10th Mountain division, and re-elected its Republican congressman in the disaster years of 2006 and 2008 by margins of 60-plus percent. Yet polls show the Republican candidate in serious trouble. State Republican Party leaders prevented an open primary race and instead engineered the nomination of one of their own, moderate, pro-choice Assemblywoman Deirdre Scozzafava. Angry conservatives in the 23rd rebelled, rallying to the third-party candidacy of local accountant Doug Hoffman. Hoffman and Scozzafava are splitting the Republican vote between them, allowing Democrat Bill Owen to emerge as the front-runner. Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt this week offered a stern condemnation of this fratricide on his popular program, calling the third-party candidate: .... a wrecker, a selfish "look at me" poser .... It takes an outsized ego to look at poll after poll that puts you behind not one but two candidates by more than 10 points and still declare yourself in the hunt. Whoops! Sorry, rewind. Fzzzzwwwwvvvvwwwzzzp. That was an editing error. Hugh Hewitt was not blasting Doug Hoffman, the third-party candidate in New York. In fact, Hoffman is the darling of talk radio and Fox News, which have helped to spread Hoffman Fever for the past few weeks. No, Hewitt was attacking the third-party candidate in New Jersey's gubernatorial race, an independent named Chris Daggett who has drawn votes from the official Republican standard-bearer, Chris Christie.