Biden to Campaign for Owens in N.Y.

Posted October 30, 2009 at 4:46pm

Vice President Joseph Biden will campaign Monday with Democrat Bill Owens, who is seeking to win the closely watched special election to replace former Rep. John McHugh (R) in upstate New York. Biden will join Owens at a morning rally in Watertown, in an effort to energize Democrats to turn out and vote in Tuesday’s election.Owens is running neck-and-neck in the 23rd district race with conservative third-party candidate Doug Hoffman, who has received a wave of endorsements from Republican lawmakers and candidates in recent days as support for Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava has crumbled. The White House created the vacancy when President Barack Obama appointed McHugh to be secretary of the Army over the summer, and would love nothing more than to pick off another Northeast House seat heading into the 2010 midterm elections.Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D), who until January represented the neighboring 20th district in the House, formally endorsed Owens on Friday and appeared with him in Lowville, N.Y.Owens has benefited from a deep split in the Republican Party between the establishment, which backed Scozzafava, and conservative movement, which has buoyed Hoffman. It is Hoffman who is now running strongest against Owens, after Scozzafava, a longtime Assemblywoman, led in early polls. Many Republicans have objected to Scozzafava’s moderate record on social issues and ties to labor unions, and the barrage of attack ads from both the left and the right have taken a toll on her approval ratings. With no candidate expected to win a majority, the three campaigns are now engaged in a turnout battle, with each side hoping to gain an edge through their ground game.