October 31st, 2009
04:28 PM ET
4 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. Too True For You

    Pulled a Palin

    October 31, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. trustisearned

    Thanks Dede for refraining from becoming an obstructionist in this race. If this has been a (loosely called) conservative strategical move seen to secure Hoffman, it would have been awesome. This says a lot for the conservative movement , whose moment in context of the current crisis should weigh as necessary for balance even for those normally not swaying this way.

    One Up, for what was formerly known as the silent majority!

    October 31, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Another Republican with no plan and no solutions and is ready to go to Washington, line his pockets with lobbyist money and just say NO.

    October 31, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Michael

    So now we have a slightly left of center Democrat versus a right wing conservative who will caucus with the Republicans.

    Since the previous election had the conservative Republican winning with over over 65% of the vote it will be interesting to see if the conservative candidate can at least maintain that level of support.

    October 31, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Judith

    As an outsider watching the antic in this race Mr Hoffman should be so ashamed of himself. He does not live in the district AND he has no clue what the people who do live in the district want or need from their Rep in DC.

    Mr Hoffman is an arrogant rich guy who should stay home and shut up.

    I sincerely hope the voters of this district to the right thing and send a strong message to these outsiders to stay home and out of our business.

    October 31, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    A True conservative would cut all spending, including military spending and end the 2 wars we are running on a credit card.

    October 31, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. M

    All RepubliCONs should pull out of this race!

    October 31, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. John E Lexington KY

    Gee, perhaps before you endorse a candidate he should actually live in the district.

    October 31, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. StillThere?

    The current state of politics is set to send this entire country even further down the toilet. Please stop paying attention to bi-partisan politics, lobbyists, and the overly wealthy who want to squash the rest of us. It is time we stand up as working class people...and take back what our ancestors and families fought so hard to achieve.

    October 31, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. Bren

    This is GREAT news!!

    This could mean 3 Republican wins on Tuesday!!!!

    October 31, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. Randy, San Francisco

    Moderate Republicans will shortly become an extinct species. The acid test in the GOP is the approval of Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, or Palin. What a sad state of affairs in the GOP!

    October 31, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. once upon a horse

    a Republican quits when the heat starting coming on? And THIS is news?

    October 31, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. Ken

    This is great news for Democrats. The Republicans are so controlled by the Palin-Limbaugh wing of the party that a moderate nominee cannot get enough support to run a campaign. The further right the Republicans go, the better for the country since this will guarantee that their minority status continues to shrink.

    October 31, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. Barbara

    I live in District 23. My vote is for Bill Owens-not for Rush-Newt-Palin and the rest of the jokesters who don't care about Healthcare and who oppose President Obama at every turn-even when he speaks to our school children. What a bunch of whiners and losers.

    October 31, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. Barbara

    Nothing like being shoved out of the race by your own Party. Go Bill Owens!

    October 31, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. joyce

    It's called the "Good OLD Boys" strategy backing a PARACHUTE candidate who doesn't even live in the District. The "Lunatic Fringe" strategy. because she is a woman, she is not good enough for the Good Old Boys. what a shame.

    October 31, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  17. cfoster

    The GOP is so desperate and childish because they fear a Democrat may win, I think this is sad. What is not being REpublican enough and turn their back on moderates? I hope this ruins the GOP party...

    October 31, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. Bill Austin

    Listen up Republicans !

    Hooray for Sarah !

    October 31, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. Ralph

    A very nobel and classy thing for her to do.

    October 31, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. Jim from Reno

    Wow! Great!..... Go Hoffman!! Could this be the beginning of the end for the Republican Party as we know it? Will the conservatives and the Club for Growth be emboldened? Will we see infighting between Conservative Republicans and ULTRA Conservative Republicans? (The moderate Repubs have long since disappeared). Is the Republican Party on the same path as the Whigs? In the next generation will be see the Democratic and Conservative Party as the two dominate political parties in America? Rush Limbaugh for President? Oh, that would be fun!

    October 31, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. John From Brooklyn, NY

    The right-wing Republican ideological pogram has claimed its latest victim. Dede has been thoroughly "cleansed" because she simply wasn't ideologically pure enough.

    How sad for the legacy of Licoln, Roosevelt, and Reagan. The "big tent" party is dead.

    October 31, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. NY-23

    Dede Scozzafava drops ou of the NY23 race. Thank you, Dede!

    Thank you Fred Thompson, Dick Armey, Teaparty, and SARAH PALIN

    After Sarah endorsed, Hoffman got free radio and TV air time, not to mention all the donations and help that poured in.

    Endorsements that followed after SARAH PALIN endorsed Hoffman:

    Rick Santorum, Wholesaler-Distributor Political Action Committee, Freedoms Defense Fund, U.S. Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-Kansas), James Dobson, PhD, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
    Right Principles, Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), Governor Rick Perry (R-TX), Senator Jim Demint (R-SC), Steve Forbes, Atlas PAC, National Conservative Fund, Gun Owners of American-PVF, Life and Liberty PAC, Minuteman PAC, Right Principles PAC, Term Limits America PAC, Congressman Jeff Flake – AZ, Congressman Linder – GA, The Heart PAC, NY Post, Republican Majority PAC, Family Research Council PAC, Leadership for America's Future, Conservative Opportunity Leadership & Enterprise, Associated Builders & Contractors, Citizens United Political Victory Fund
    Freedom First PAC, Congressman Steve King – IA, Catholic Families for America PAC, The American Conservative Party, Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK), Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), Rep. John C. Fleming (R-LA), Rep. Steve King (R-IA), Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ)
    Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), John Bolton, George Pataki

    The liberals can keep rolling out their stooge Ricky Hollywood(Levi Johnston) and keep doing their hit-pieces on her but it ain't going to do anything but bring more people to the Palin camp.

    October 31, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. Charles

    Split The Republican Party! Formalize the ideological divide, permanently. Why can no one see that this will allow proper representation of the voters?

    October 31, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Anthony McMahon-Illinois

    That's too bad. Now they ahve a wingnut running for the seat. Hopefully the voters of NY-23 will send a message to the GOP that they're fed up with neo con boneheads.

    October 31, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. I smell chicken

    is that the smell of the GOP eating its own?

    October 31, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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