October 31st, 2009
04:28 PM ET
5 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. John of NY23

    Hoffman was the right choice for the financial health of the country. I strongly oppose his medieval views on social issues. However, we sometimes need to take the bad with the good and get some intelligence back into the congressional house.

    October 31, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  2. JP

    I am a prochoice republician and feel that the right wing is destroying the party. They shoved Palin down McCain throat which caused him to lose. The far right is the reason liberal idiots like Obama are in office.

    October 31, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. File under "Sarcasm"

    That's the end for the Democrat, Bill Owens. If Hoffman picks up Scozzafava's voters, he'll be up by 20 points over Owens.

    October 31, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. StevieB

    Its a shame that a rare realistic republican was driven away by the lunatic fringe.

    October 31, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. shyamal

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

    why is the whole MSM lying about this. COnservatives were not pissed off on her mostly because of her socail moderation but because all her views were liberal. she supported stimulus when all of the republican congress voted against it. she never said a word against obama care or cap and trade. stop s[preading this lie. she supported all the social liberal causes and all the liberal economic philisophies. she was supported by accord and daily kos founder. how can she be one of our own.
    please stop spreading this storyline that she was hated because she was moderate. NO actually her views were MORE liberal than the democratic nominee.

    October 31, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. GPC

    Watching the Radical right of the GOP is like watching reptile eat there siblings...

    October 31, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. Dan

    I pray that these bigots get defeated. Obama won the area, maybe the Dems can pull it off!!!

    October 31, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Richard-Arkansas

    Let us see what the bribe was to get her to back out. Just follow the money. If NY23 is as moderate as they appear to be, they will elect Owens over another Cheney/Bush Republican.

    October 31, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Jim

    Aaaand, the fix is in. The party leaned on her and now she is backing out so the uber-conservative, neo-nazi, right-wing character assasin can get elected. Nice work, Republican party!

    October 31, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. Greg, MN

    So one less liberal in a race... "moderate", "centrist" is liberal...

    October 31, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. Tom in Delaware

    NY23 is about to rock Obama's world.

    It'll be fun watching Nancy Pelosi swear in a member of the 'Astro-turf' to the House of Representatives.

    Such sweet irony...

    October 31, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. Jim

    Sarah Palin had it right all along!

    October 31, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Mike O

    A victory for conservatism and the rank & file.

    October 31, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. teflon warrior

    I watched her concession interview and was impressed by her graciousness. Survival rule number 1 for politicians however in the climate were in is that closer attention is being played to what they did. Pay attention Dems!

    October 31, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. rob

    Good for her, she realizes the only way to compete with the Dems is to be different than the Dems. Now on to the general and defeating the dems one by one.

    October 31, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. Mark My Words

    The Republicans will be making a comeback because the Libs have shown that all they know how to do is spend and waste money and even lie about the numbers of jobs that the have created. Only true conservatives will be elected and the Rinos might as well join the Democratic party.

    October 31, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. Carl Justus

    It is unfortunate when we have political party that is run by a bunch of so called "right wing idiots" that cannot stand for a person to have their own ideas about what is wrong with America and will spend their time, money and family togetherness to represent the country and those from the distric that elects them.

    October 31, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. Sam

    Sign of things to come for the GOP

    October 31, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  19. Alfred

    Best news of the day. She's not really a Republican anyway. And so begins Obama's downfall. Next comes Virginia and New Jersey...

    October 31, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. diridi

    I told you long time ago...these GOP Republican idiots are lost in credibility...because, they messed this nation fixcally into pieces....it takes another 15 years...to recuperate....they better say yes on health care with public option....but they are taking bribes from insurance thugs...watch out...esply Mitt Rumney...the big idiot....

    October 31, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  21. SamSunny

    Another step for the Republican party to move so far Right we can hardly recognize it as a party of democracy as it slips off the fringe edge into oblivion.

    October 31, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. Doug

    Dede was not a Republican, certainly not a conservative, and was more liberal than the Democrat in the Race. She did her self a good service by dropping out and probably gained more respect for doing so. If money was the issue, she would have had plenty if she stood for traditional Republican values. She cost herself, but at the same time was true to herself and her beliefs. The only problem is that her beliefs are not shared by those in her district.

    October 31, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. eanmd

    Hopefully the locals in NY-23 vote democratic. The remaining so called republican candidate could give a flying fu– about the local issues in that disctrict. Its all about taking down BO. What a scam !!!

    October 31, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. Leslie

    The rethuglicans with their strongarm tactics are at it again. Hopefully Scozzafava's followers will see through this and vote for Owens, the Democrat.

    October 31, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. Matt

    The real message is: "We, the Republican party, officially no longer care about local issues. We'd like you to elect an outsider who knows exactly zero about the district (and complains when asked questions about it at a debate). In future, all your representatives will stand for is hatred of gays, racial minorities, reproductive freedom and the environment. We will spare no expense to ensure that the rights of the wealthy to abuse the less-wealthy are protected."

    October 31, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
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