Rebelling conservatives pushed Republican Dede Scozzafava out of the House race in New York’s 23rd District because she’s a moderate. But she’s also a woman, and her ouster points to a toxic side effect of the tea party revolution: the closing of the GOP to all but the most reactionary female candidates. Over the past 2 decades, pragmatic moderate women made up a substantial part of the Republican’s House majorities, but today the party has only 17 women in the chamber, and 13 challengers for 2012.
Scozzafava’s experience “is a terrific example of what happens when you have a strong, moderate Republican woman on the ticket,” a Rutgers political scientist tells Politico. “She struggled because the stalwarts of the party turned against her.” Ohio Rep. Deborah Pryce agrees: “Look at what’s happened in New England. We’ve lost virtually all of our seats there because the base of the party doesn’t take kindly to moderates.”