Scozzafava Ends Campaign in N.Y. Special Election

Posted October 31, 2009 at 10:35am

Updated: 12:48 p.m.Republican Dede Scozzafava on Saturday abruptly suspended her campaign to win Tuesday’s special election in New York’s 23rd district, as the latest poll in the race confirmed that her support had collapsed and that she had slipped to third in the closely watched three-way race.In a statement, Scozzafava said she is dropping her bid for the good of her party and her community. “In recent days, polls have indicated that my chances of winning this election are not as strong as we would like them to be,— she said. The reality that I’ve come to accept is that in today’s political arena, you must be able to back up your message with money — and as I’ve been outspent on both sides, I’ve been unable to effectively address many of the charges that have been made about my record.—The news that the longtime state assemblywoman is ending her campaign comes as a new poll released Saturday morning showed Attorney Bill Owens (D) and accountant Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party nominee, in a dead heat. In the Siena Research Institute poll, Owens was at 36 percent and Hoffman at 35 percent. Scozzafava had dropped well behind to 20 percent in the survey, which had a margin of error of 4 points.Although she has suspended her campaign, Scozzafava’s name will still appear on Tuesday’s ballot, and she will no doubt draw some percentage of the vote. The size of her vote total could affect the outcome of the race. The poll bookends a week during which rank-and-file Republicans on Capitol Hill and across the country were flocking to support Hoffman’s campaign. Republican House leaders and the National Republican Congressional Committee had supported Scozzafava as the party’s nominee, but GOP leaders issued a joint statement Saturday urging support for Hoffman.“With Assemblywoman Scozzafava suspending her campaign, we urge voters to support Doug Hoffman’s candidacy in New York’s 23rd Congressional district,— their statement said. “He is the only active candidate in the race who supports lower taxes, fiscal responsibility and opposes [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi’s agenda of government-run healthcare, more government and less jobs. We look forward to welcoming Doug Hoffman into the House Republican Conference as we work together for the good of our nation.— In her statement Saturday, Scozzafava did not offer an endorsement, but she released her supporters to back another candidate. Because Scozzafava’s strongest support has always been among Republican moderates, it is possible that a large chunk of her supporters could move to Owens, the Democrat, rather than Hoffman. Her statement did not mention Hoffman by name.“It is increasingly clear that pressure is mounting on many of my supporters to shift their support. Consequently, I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so,— she said. “I am and have always been a proud Republican. It is my hope that with my actions today, my party will emerge stronger and our district and our nation can take an important step towards restoring the enduring strength and economic prosperity that has defined us for generations.—In a statement, Hoffman decried all of the liberal support and money that has been flooding into the district to help boost Owens. He did not mention the wave of money and endorsements from national conservatives that helped move his third-party bid into contention to win the race. “This campaign is a horserace between me and Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked candidate, Bill Owens,— Hoffman said. “It’s time for us to send a message to Washington — we’re sick and tired of big-spending, high-taxing, career politicians and by voting for me on Tuesday you will send that message loud and clear.—The special election in upstate New York was triggered by the resignation of Rep. John McHugh (R), who was confirmed as secretary of the Army in September. Although the district has a Republican registration advantage, it voted narrowly for President Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. To help rally Democrats to go to the polls, the White House is sending Vice President Joseph Biden to the district to campaign with Owens on Monday.