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. Col. D

    Well libs, we all know who won this one and I bet to don't like it a bit: Sarah Palin. Eat your hearts out.

    October 31, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. JDH

    Has anyone else seen the CNN interview with Hoffman? He's an idiot.

    October 31, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. Stan Pribichevich

    As long as the GOP is in search of "purity" within their party, rather than reaching out to become a broader one, they will ensure their obsolescence.

    October 31, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. MARK

    She wasn't a true republican. Now, the conservative will win, as will the country with him in the congress to fight Obama's crazy, liberal agenda.

    October 31, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. Dennis

    I wonder how badly she was threatened?

    October 31, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Dede shows great honor in doing what was right to consolidate the conservative base.
    Now we need voter turnout to stop Bill, vote for Doug, the time for a fresh new approach to representation, a representative who is of the people, by the people and for the people of upstate NY.

    October 31, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  7. No Rep or Dems

    I'm glad she pulled out.

    I hope that more people will start running, so that we can vote for people that best match our standards instead of relying on a party.

    Vote out corrupt career politicians (Dodd, Rangle, Waters, Reid, Boxer, Frank....).

    October 31, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  8. Operation Replacement

    Sounds like Hoffman struck a nerve. The GOP candidate is a
    tweedle dee to Pelosi's tweedle dum, Owens. If Owens loses,
    that will convince Pelosi to keep her nose out of local politics.

    October 31, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. Reagan was wrong

    The GOP base deals in absolutes:

    Government is ALWAYS the problem
    America is ALWAYS right
    Abortions are ALWAYS wrong
    and the list goes on and on...

    But reality is not black and white, which makes their views incompatible with reality and, by extension, governance. I think that a mindset that excludes most Americans (the kind we see on a daily basis from FOX News and GOP pundits directed towards blacks, Hispanics, gays, Arabs, etc.) will never find purchase outside of the most remote backwater parts of the country.

    October 31, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. Tom G

    Democrats take heed; you are witnessing a paradigm shift in the Republican Party. Scozzafava lost support from the Republican Party because she wasn’t far enough to the right. The far right wing of the Republican Party is using this special election as an opportunity to demonstrate their clout. Don’t discount Sarah Palin, clearly she went head to head with Newt and won. It’s a scary fact that the supporters of the far right win are going to come out and vote.

    If you believe in individual freedom and choices you better be prepared to get out and support your Democratic candidate. If you care about the environment in which you live you better get out and support your Democratic candidate. If you care about your living wages you better get out and support your Democratic candidate.

    October 31, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Carnell From The Motor City!

    The Repugnicans Have The Nerve, And Twice The Arrogance To Complain About Democrats Running Interferance In Politics.

    October 31, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. Wnbresn

    Sooo I guess if you believe GW Bush and Dick Cheney was your type of politican then Hoffman is the man for you.. Hmmm further proof of the decline of Conservative intellect..Maybe Beck or Rush should have run..

    October 31, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. Pragmatic

    "The local Republican leaders picked the state assemblywoman, because they felt her moderate views would appeal to centrist Republicans, independents, and even some Democrats..."

    And we all know how the conservatives hate any moderate American – especially moderate republicans ... love to see the conservatives go down in flames ... again!

    October 31, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. james

    There are Republicans that are too liberal? Now we have extreme right-wingers who want to take back the Washington they created by calling it a reform movement. So would Hoffman vote against both sides? That's effective.

    October 31, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. Robert

    Once again the Republican party has been hijacked by the fundamentalists, bigots, and nutjobs. The party of Lincoln has been reduced to the party of Pat Robertson, Timothy McVeigh, Fred Phelps.

    October 31, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Ken in NC

    I'm a Democrat not located in NY that has been watching this process take place up there and even I felt this lady, Scozzafava, might better serve the people of her district than either of the other two candidates. I guess it really doesn't make a lot of difference on what you beleive but more in how much money you got to buy beleif with. I think she made a mistake by dropping out of the race but I do understand that it takes money to buy the loyality and votes of our citizens so there isn't to much she can do but it would be funny now to see her stop her campaign and still win the race. That would speak tons for this lady and what the people think of her.

    October 31, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. Rich

    Wow! the power of Sarah Palin! Go Conservatives!

    October 31, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  18. CHANGE.COM

    It is very sad that moderates no longer have a voice in the part of NO! The GOP keeps digging their grave deeper one election after another. I'm sure the Democratic party will welcome your views, Ms. Scozzafava.

    October 31, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. david harrington

    Be warned the rest of you republicans in name only we are coming after all of you in 2010.

    October 31, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Patti

    We hope the Republican Party see what is going on... We as CONSERVATIVES will not vote for a RINO. They better wake up in time for the 2010 election. We want them to go to Washington and represent the American people not themselves.

    October 31, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Allen, Texas

    Now we know that in the Republican Party, only wachos are allowed. Dede Scozzafava dropped out because she is not nutty enough. It's now clear that the Republicans are in a "purge" or "purity" mode. They will rather shrink their party and remain in the wilderness.

    October 31, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. Mike

    Its all about getting a particular party elected. No one cares what the people needs.........

    October 31, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. james

    How could this be a statement for the Republicans? They haven't lost this seat in over 130 years! A pretty safe endorsement for Republicans from elsewhere. Now what would it mean to Republicans if they lose?

    October 31, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. Greg

    The party of hate takes down another victim. I hope her supporters pull a Leiberman and vote for the Dem. Maybe they'll realize that there 19th century beliefs is the reason why their party is dead.

    October 31, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. JW Morrison

    What difference does it make if a Republican and a Democrat believe in the same things? If the Republicans and Democrats have no difference between them then what good does it do for this country? Personally, whether I agree with Hoffman or Owen doesn't matter. To me, what matters is that there is a definite difference so that I have a clear choice.

    October 31, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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