NY 23, Palin 0, Erick Erickson 1

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The CW take, courtesy of SNL's Seth Meyers, is that Sarah Palin's brand problems contributed to the defeat of the candidate she backed in the very special election in New York's 23rd Congressional District. But Republican candidates know who butters their bread. There are signs today that, far from taking Hoffman's defeat as evidence that voters are anxious about attempts to run a hard right candidacy, the GOP mod squad is interpreting Hoffman's surge as a warning.

ITEM: The National Republican Senatorial Committee says it won't spend money in Republican primaries even though it recruited several candidates who now face them. The idea isn't to cede control over candidate recruitment so much as it is to back away from the impression that they're in the business of anointing candidates.

ITEM: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) endorses conservative California Senate candidate Chuck DeVore on the day that the NRSC-recruited candidate, Carly Fiorna, enters the race. (The NRSC says it's not endorsing.)

ITEM: In Illinois, the Washington Post "reports" that Senate candidate Mark Kirk, a moderate Republican who embraced Sarah Palin's vice presidential candidacy when it was cool -- i.e., when it was announced -- then bashed Palin after the 2008 campaign had ended -- now wants Palin's endorsement, and pronto. Palin's going to be in Chicago shortly to tape Oprah, and Kirk sent a memo to one of Palin's informal advisers, Fred Malek, asking whether he could facilitate an endorsement. Rumors that Kirk would tack hard to the right have been circulating, and, indeed, Kirk seems to have made his decision before yesterday's election. One of Kirk's potential Democratic opponents, IL State Treasurer/Obama pal Alexi Giannoulias, responded as follows: "Mark Kirk begging for Sarah Palin's endorsement makes it clear that he'll seek any endorsement, take up any political or policy position, and attempt any political maneuver that he thinks will get him more votes. At the very best, this is shameless political pandering. At worst, it's further proof that Mark Kirk lacks the political courage to make the tough decisions to move this state forward."

ITEM: Charlie Crist, who supported Obama's stimulus package -- quite unpopular with Republican base voters -- had this to say: "This election has sent a clear message to the Obama Administration, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Enough is enough."

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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