October 31st, 2009
04:28 PM ET
8 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. BoulderBill

    In the politics of the age, I wonder what the real reason is for her backing out? Little doubt someone dug up some dirt.

    October 31, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. from New York State...

    well, I was going to vote for Scozzafava, now my vote goes to Owens. Hoffman is a Sarah Palin-clone nut case. Once again the conservatives are losing elections for the GOP – thanks at lot...

    October 31, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. jack

    Watching the republicans fight among themselves for control of a party that resembles a sinking ship. Can you say Titantic? Brings to mind another time when protest were everywhere. The mid sixty's. One of my favorite songs then was by Barry McGuire, The Eve of Destruction.

    This should be the new theme song for the republican party. A party that brought about so much evil in this nation is finally reaping what it has sown. And they are on the eve of their destruction.

    October 31, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. vbabe

    the last thing republicans need is another Olympia Snowe! We need actual republicans, not republicans in name only!

    October 31, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. HarryB

    One more victory for the Wingnuts. The loonies are now officially in charge of the Republican party.

    October 31, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. i do not believe any third parties kr

    I will be so glad when these elections are over with so the republicans can start crowing; still 2010 abnd 2012 are not here yet and as my father use to say it is not over till the fat lady sings. I do not believe that you gain anything by evil methods; but politics has always been viewed as crooked. I have never seen in all my life except for the 08 campaign such mud slinging; I guess it is fasten your seat belts for it is going to be a rocky ride.

    October 31, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. Pepou

    In other words, either you are an arch conservative and a right-winger or you don't have any future in the GOP. And they wonder why they are at 20% !

    October 31, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. Common Sense

    What the Republican party needs to realize is that conservative voters are searching for conservative candidates. We do not want RINO's as we have a sufficient supply of them now. Republicans cannot win by being liberal, as proven by running McCain for president. If we wanted to vote for a liberal we would vote for a Democrat, but we would rather not vote at all than vote for a liberal, which is what has happened. Get back to your roots and Republicans have a chance, but keep running liberal or moderate candidates and we will continue to be the minority party.

    October 31, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  9. Enough

    It's deplorable the way the GOP elitists treated Dede. She deserves better than that, as these far right fundamentalists continue to hijack my former Republican Party.

    McDonnell's thesis is alive and well...
    How sad.

    October 31, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. sara

    You shouldn't have "quit!

    October 31, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. I'm a Liberal-You got a problem with that?

    Unbelievable. I can't believe people are allowing intellectually challenged bloggers such as Sarah Palin influence elections. Good luck Conservatives. Ha!

    October 31, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Excellent news......

    Hoffman wins, the beginning of the end for Obama.....

    Obama-ONE and DONE.

    October 31, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. rafi

    This is awful news. As a progressive who is pro-civil rights, Dede was the only palatable candidate. A Republican who supports gay marriage is worth more than a Democrat who supports gay marriage, and it would've been great to have her.

    Unfortunately this sends a message to Republican politicians that they still can't support equal rights, and it says to the party that Republicans who do won't win.

    I'd still rather have Owens over Hoffman, but not by much.

    October 31, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. rob

    I hope all her supporters vote for Owens.

    October 31, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. tommygunn

    How coincidental.....a local REPUBLICAN drops out based on $$$ pressures to another nonlocal REPUBLICAN. Commercialism and theatrics at it's best.

    Now let's see what happens with the legacy of the REPUBLICAN reign there in New York.


    October 31, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. Thomas5

    It's a shame that the Left has been allowed to steal the term "liberal" when in reality it never belonged to them. Those on the Left claiming to be "liberal" are indeed an "L-word", but it ain't "liberal". It's "liars". Old-school classical liberalism has virtually nothing in common with today's pseudo-liberals. (Perhaps "neoliberal" would be a better description of them.) Scozzafava most definitely is a leftist, but not a liberal by any stretch of the imagination.

    It's time that the term "liberal" be claimed once again by those who rightfully ARE liberal. (i.e those that embrace individual rights, limited constitutional government, and free market capitalism.) Real classical liberals are those on the Right. But true to leftist form, the pseudo-liberals are quick to redistribute that which doesn't belong to them, including terminology.

    October 31, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. Carol

    This is absolutely pathetic. She's either way too thin-skinned and shouldn't have run in the first place, or somebody arm-twisted her out because some of her views weren't in lock step with the rest of the Republicans. I've never heard of somone just dropping out so close to an election because they questioned their ability to win.

    October 31, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. Paul

    Another moderate republican candidate kicked out by the mob.
    This republican mob is becoming quite worrisome.

    October 31, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. Perusing-through


    To maintain a Republican representative in NY-23 (New York's congressional district 23), the GOP has resorted to eating their own. Palin and Pawlenty destroyed Republican Dede Scozzafava's campaign for NY-23 to ensure an extreme right-wing ideologue like Doug Hoffman retains the seat for Republicans.


    October 31, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. Patrick

    Wonderful! I guess the Republicans can throw away all hope of becoming a wide base party again. Drive out the moderates, abandon ACTUAL conservatism and ride that far right crazy horse into oblivion. Here is one East Coast Republican that has completely given up on the GOP. As Barry Goldwater said of the religious right: "Do not associate my name with anything you do. You are extremists, and you've hurt the Republican party much more than the Democrats have."

    October 31, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    Hoffman is so full of it! Where was he during the Bush Administration when it was irresponsibly cutting taxes while waging not one, but TWO wars and spending money our country didn't have?

    And what has been the result of all those tax cuts for the wealthy? They've taken that extra cash and invested it overseas, building factories there while closing factories here and laying off Americans.

    People need to wake up to the fact that Republicans love to spout off about "small government, lower taxes, family values" till the cows come home.

    The reality is they care about one thing: Money in their pocket. Party Before Country. I've Got Mine and to Heck With the Rest of You!

    October 31, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  22. Nunya

    Too bad. Maybe we'll get lucky and the Republicans lose with some far right nutjob. One day they will wake up and realize that extremes are not the right path.

    October 31, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    There's nothing wrong with being Liberal. With Liberals, we wouldn't have:

    – clean air and water
    – voting rights for women and minorities
    – Medicare
    – Social Security
    – the interstate highway system
    – the dam system, including Hoover Dam and Bonneville, providing electricity across the nation
    – the National Park system
    – local police and fire protection

    The list goes on and on .... If you like living in the United States with all these benefits listed above – thank a Liberal!

    October 31, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    The GOP needs to admit what everyone knows: They care about money more than people. Period.

    Just look at their policies, their laws, their ideas about regulation and taxes: They believe in a dog-eat-dog world, where I've got mine and to heck with you.

    Whatever you can get away with in the name of making the Almighty Buck is OK.

    It is precisely this attitude that lead to the Great Depression of 1929 and took us to the brink again under Bush.

    Hoffman is cut from this cloth – and only a fool would vote for him!

    October 31, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. Peter

    It's good to see that the far right has added another notch on their crossbow, destroying the career of yet another moderate Republican.

    The purge continues.

    October 31, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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