October 31st, 2009
04:28 PM ET
9 years ago

Republican Dede Scozzafava drops out of NY-23 race

Dede Scozzafava was under intense pressure from conservatives for being too 'liberal'.

Dede Scozzafava was under intense pressure from conservatives for being too 'liberal'.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Dede Scozzafava dropped out of New York's 23rd District special election Saturday, citing a slip in the polls as a factor contributing to her decision.

"In recent days, polls have indicated that my chances of winning this election are not as strong as we would like them to be," Scozzafava said in a statement released by her campaign.

"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."

Scozzafava won the nomination in a vote taken by the 11 GOP county chairman in the district, rather than through a traditional primary election. The local Republican leaders picked the state assemblywoman, because they felt her moderate views would appeal to centrist Republicans, independents, and even some Democrats.

Scozzafava, whose name will remain on the November 3 ballot, said "victory is unlikely."

"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.

Later: Scozzafava endorses Owens

The seat opened up earlier this year after nine-term Republican Rep. John McHugh stepped down after being confirmed as Secretary of the Army. The largely rural district spans 11 counties in northern New York.

Republicans have represented this area of the state since 1872.  McHugh never won less than 60 percent of the vote in his nine election victories, but Barack Obama did edge out John McCain in the district in last year's presidential election.

Scozzafava won the nomination in a vote taken by the 11 GOP county chairman in the district, rather than through a traditional primary election. The local Republican leaders picked the state assemblywoman, who was also backed by the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee because they felt her moderate views would appeal to centrist Republicans, independents, and even some Democrats.

The move sparked a revolt among many conservatives, who were angry with what they call her liberal views on same-sex marriage and abortion.

Hoffman's campaign was quick to respond Saturday, claiming he represents a change from normal Washington politics.

"This morning's events prove what we have said for the last week; this campaign is a horse race between me and Nancy Pelosi's handpicked candidate, Bill Owens," Hoffman said in a statement.

"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," he said.

Filed under: NY-23 • Popular Posts
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. independent

    Remember this day.

    The Right-wing of the Republican Party has intimidated the official GOP candidate to pull out of a race. This makes it a Democrat verses third-party Conservative election. You are going to see this more and more across America until the Right-Wing of the GOP takes over that party, and all moderate Republicans become independents or Democrats.

    October 31, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. Annie, Atlanta

    Well, there goes another point for the extreme right wing fringe of the Republican party. The people in this district will blindly vote for a man who doesn't even live in the district and has no clue about their needs, locally. I'm hoping the voters will do what's in their own best interests, but history isn't on my side.

    October 31, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. independent

    The National Conservative Party is dictating to the National and State Republican Parties, i.e. the voters of NY, that the NCP knows best who should represent them in this election. The NCP is telling MIchael Steele and the people of NY that they, the voters, cannot choose who will represent them in the election. Apparently, Sarah Palin is taking over the leadership of the GOP.

    October 31, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. Fitz in Texas

    We're praying you win this one Doug Hoffman.

    Now sit down before you fall down Democrats......I donated to Doug Hoffman's campaign.

    October 31, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |

    Bye bye Owens. It is officially gonna be a landslide now. She did the right thing. There is no place for liberals in the republican party. The problem has been too many liberals, who are nothing more than a democrat, ruining my conservative party. This sends a loud message to blue dog dems, dont you dare sign off on obama care, or you will be replaced. Americans are finally snapping out of this spell cast by obama.

    October 31, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. John of NY 23

    Honorable. No I am serious. I will be pleased to see Hoffman win to get his financial conservative vote in the house. The national financial security is the only issue worth considering at this time. The others won't matter if the US is bankrupt.

    That is hard for me to say as I completely disagree with his conservative, dark ages view of social issues but we must set those concerns aside and get closer to a healthy balance.

    October 31, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. Ted

    This is a sad example of how the Republican party has continued it's change to a far right party out of touch with most Americans. I was a Republican for almost 30 years when I left in 2004. They continue to move right and I have not looked back. The party of Teddy Roosevelt is now the party of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah palin, and Fox News. I am sorry to see one of the last of the moderate Republicans dropping out of the race, but it just reinforces my opinion that the GOP has left the bulk of America behind in it's dash to the right.

    October 31, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. katiec

    Oh wow. She gave into the radical religious right.
    Heaven help us.

    October 31, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. SkiDoc

    Hoffman wins! Say "goodbye" to old business-as-usual politics. This is part of the beginning of the end of "talk big, do nothing" Obama.

    October 31, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. vic nashville , Tn

    I am former republican even though time to time I support republicans

    All these years I was thinking some time democrats can’t stand the heat

    This story changed my mind and this story will send wrong message to nation

    Next year and 2012 republicans will struggle

    October 31, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. D.R.S.

    Great news for conservatives.If Hoffman wins watch the dems say ya this district was a republican stronghold anyways, ignoring the fact it voted for Obama last year.I guess Palin has some political influence after all.I mean before her endorsement Hoffman was down 7.After it he went up 12 on Dede.I guess the GOPs plans to be a liberals 2nd choice is backfiring.Its tossing the RINOs outta there.So watch out Snow Collins you others, the conservatives are headed your way next.So be careful how you vote on HC.

    October 31, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. Obama WORST president EVER

    This is what happens when the squishy NY GOP nominates a spineless candidate like Dede. Go HOFFMAN!!!!!

    October 31, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    That should guarantee a win for the Dems....

    October 31, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. ross berg-buffalo ny

    Another female quiter to keep Sarah Palin company!! At least this one quit prior to being elected!!!

    The Republicans continue to self destruct!! They're now down to 20% in the latest poll...how low can they go???

    October 31, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  15. Mamanomia

    You should have hung in there Dede...It's a matter of choice...

    October 31, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. Connie, Indiana

    I think this is an excuse, someone got to her..Republicans will do almost anything to destroy themselves..Hoffman can't even give good answers to questions regarding the region that he wants to represent. With Dick Armey with him, he (Hoffman) can be described as a tea-bagger wanna-be. Have no idea what is wrong with this country. Elect people who don't know squat about the area or its problems, but will vote for the abortion, gay anti-rights etc, I think they call this cutting your nose off to despite your face.

    October 31, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. New Yorker

    Great News! I hope all advocates for the unborn babies, those who support traditional marriage, and those who support LESS taxpayer spending and government control over our lives will get out and vote for Doug Hoffman. Lets take back the country with a 3rd Party and strive for a "government of the people, by the people, for the people".

    October 31, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. Karen

    Congratulations Mr. Hoffmann. I hope you are the next congressman from NY District 23.

    October 31, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. VON BISMARK -Vienna

    What a big tent dweller!

    October 31, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. Four and The Door

    Another example to show Sarah Palin knows how to get things done and they don't have to be the conventional way. Go Sarah!

    October 31, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  21. b


    October 31, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. GI Joe

    Iquiterad Queen of NY (must be having Palin aspirations).

    October 31, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. Xkrat

    Sarah Palin is now officially the de gacto head of the Conservative, Republican, Independent, Libertarian and Tea Parties.

    October 31, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. Mickey, NY

    Gee, now there's a surprise!

    October 31, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. Jay Hotze

    This is a GREAT opportunity for all conservatives to get behind Hoffman and begin the cut into liberal Democrats' total exclusion of Republican/Conservative legislators from the law development process. A vote for Owens is a vote for Pelosi!!!

    October 31, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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