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. Allen

    Typical republican: Whine whine whine, give up. I see she has taken the Palin approach.

    October 31, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. indiana voter

    This just goes to prove that it is not about Republican vs Democrats, but rather Conservatives vs Liberals in this country. The same reason that conservatives don't like liberal Republicans in their party is the same reason that Democrats don't like Blue-Dog Conservatives in their party. It is beyond party affiliation. It is simply Conservatives vs Liberals. Fortunately for America, Conservatives usually win out, because in an actual debate of ideas, conservative thoughts and ideas always win out.

    October 31, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. Yair

    Now, who says "Sarah who?"? Well-done Sarah Palin!!!

    October 31, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. Shawn

    Ha Ha. The Republican party is O-V-E-R and right-wing extremists will never win a national election in a center-left country. Who says Bush didn't accomplish anything?

    October 31, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. JAMEY

    So now, outsiders- people who don't even live in this district will decide the winner. This is hardly democracy. The GOP has created a monster and it is eating them alive.

    October 31, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  6. nadine

    Regardless what Hoffman or any conservatives views, folks have the right to think for themselves. God gives all of us choices and whatever you choose, that's you have to live with. Abortion is not the only sin that is not pleasing to God, so is injustice, lying, stealing, treading on the poor for your selfish gain and yes, sex outside of marriage. Republicans, take your hypocritical pharisees and sadducees image and search the real love of God!

    October 31, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. wdd

    Sarah Palin ROCKS !!!!

    October 31, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. Carol

    Well, Thomas5, your ignorance is as sad as your convoluted logic. Claiming that "liberal" is actually the province of the 'conservatives', rather than accurately the "libertarians" is silly, but not recognizing the hypocrisy of defining today's 'conservatives' as "those that embrace individual rights, limited constitutional government, and free market capitalism" is, at best, getting one out of three correct.

    Anyone who sincerely embraces individual rights and/or limited constitutional government would not use that government to prohibit the rights of individuals to determine the qualities of their marriage partner, their choice to make use of specific medical services (abortion included), or any other of the intrusive policies espoused by your heroes. And you aren't even republicans because in our republic, as defined by the framers of the Constitution, the majority was to rule – and your ilk are far from being this country's majority. You're louder, meaner of spirit and morebullying and vicious in tactic, is all.

    And while I'm on the subject, you may detest those of us you so derisively call RINOs, but you are all ENORMOUSLY hypocritical CINOs – Christians in name only. You can proclaim yourself Christians, but a balanced look at your actions and the goals of them compare better with the Pharisees and Sanhedrin than with Jesus', who taught us not to be judgemental, to embrace and reach out to those who had erred, fallen from grace, found themselves in want. "As ye do unto the least of these, ye do unto Me," he said. You may mouth it for an hour on Sundays, but you walk the very opposite every other day and time. God is Love, Jesus is Tolerance and you are Hate and Judgementalism. You are repugnant to my Republican party pride.

    October 31, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  9. Mary from NY23

    I am a young voter from this district and I am now even more scared that Doug Hoffman may win this election. As a woman I am scared for my rights and the rights of thousands of others from this district. Hoffmans ignorance to most local issues of this area also worries me. Many people contend that this is a conservative district but let me tell you that Hoffman does not represent all of us in NY23 and we will overwhelmed by these teabaggers from many other states. For the sake of this area WE NEED BILL OWENS!

    October 31, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  10. birimuye

    Obama all the way!!! Hooray!!!

    October 31, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  11. Jeff Jones

    Richard Nixon was a liberal Republican, it just shows now how much the cnservatives have taken overthe Republican party. They don't care as much about lower taxes and smaller government, all they care about is stopping gay marriage and abortion.

    October 31, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  12. Lora C.

    I won't vote for anyone supported by the likes of the hateful and spiteful Glenn Beck, Rush LImbaugh, et al. and I definitely won't vote for anyone supported by Sarah Palin!!

    October 31, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  13. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    This great news!

    Forcing the "moderate" republican out to be replaced by another neo-con Fable Following "christian" in this republican domain for over a hundred years, will only empower the lunatic fringe and followers of Saint Sarah of the Silly to believe they have a chance in winning in a national general election.

    This will bode very badly for repubiklans in 2012, put keep those blinders on and keep shrinking the base(your already down from 21% to 20%) so that eventually, it will be the size of a revival tent.


    October 31, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. Roger

    Why?? Did Bush or Cheney endorse him & sink his campaign?

    October 31, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  15. Pat, TN

    With the infighting in the Republican Party with these two candidates, makes the Democratic Party lookso so good.

    Let me see; only 20% of the people consider being republicans, and the moderates are being pushed out of the party, that will leave the likes of Beck, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity and those crazy Tea Party People. Don't these people realize that it is going to require more that these people to win back the White House?

    October 31, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  16. CNN 100% censored reader

    I find it absolutely amusing that the only Republicans that the liberals like is a liberal Republican. The problem is that liberals won't EVER vote for a Republican, liberal or not. Liberals used to love John McCain until he ran against another liberal, a Democratic one. Republicans will never again allow the Democratic Party to pick our candidates. Get used to it now. Conservatives outnumber Liberals in this country 2 to 1. Gee, 20% of this country classify themselves as Liberal; don't try to use the term Progressive, it's like you are embarrassed to call yourselves liberal. When Conservatives like Reagan run the Republican Party again, then you'll see us align ourselves with the Republican Party. We don't like slackers waiting in line for a free handout. We work for a living, pay taxes, volunteer to help the needy, and donate our hard earned money for charity. Hoffman is a Conservative Republican who will trounce Owens. It's the wakeup call that has you liberals trembling in your panties when you see VA, NJ, and NY-23 go RED.

    October 31, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  17. Zion


    Hopefully this, and the Republican backing of Hoffman, is a sign that the GOP is moving back towards small government, where they should have been all along, as the party of Lincoln and Reagan, not Bush and McCain.

    We have not been the party of Lincoln for a while because we would have produced a Pres. Obama instead of the Democrats. As far as Reagan goes, how can we tout the values of Reagan and then support Medicare and Medicade just to win votes. He was vehemently against those two programs.

    October 31, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. Skip

    Moderate? She was to left of the Democrat. May she go work for her husbands union.

    October 31, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  19. Illinoistom

    Kick all RINOs to the curb. If they want to act like Democrats, go be Democrats!

    October 31, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  20. Jacob

    the conservatives and evangelicals will destroy America!

    October 31, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  21. Liberals don't read

    Reading all these silly comments by uneducated, uninformed, intolerant liberals is quite interesting. It's obvious that most didn't read the article, nor are from NY.

    I'm not a New Yorker, but am always happy to see everyday Americans running for office. We don't need career politicians that have no idea what it is like to hold a real job (Obama, McCain, Dodd, Frank, Reid, Pelosi...).

    We need less 'Harvard' lawyers and more successful private citizens in government.

    October 31, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  22. Reagan was wrong

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

    I agree, career politicians become much too preoccupied with polls and elections to be effective leaders. But let's not forget people like Boehner, McCain, Grassley, McConnell, Hutchinson, etc...

    October 31, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  23. Black Viper

    Thank God she drops out.
    Now we know what is takes to be a GOP.
    I can guarantee you fools that at this pace the GOP will never see the light of the white house again.
    Reducing your party to one minority uneducated religious wackos and brain washed nuts will not help you win nationaly.
    Very soon the party will be split into 2 with will confirm my views.

    October 31, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  24. Len in Washington

    Not enough in "Lock Step" eh?

    "Republicans Eating Their Young"

    October 31, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  25. Jesus Francisco

    The GOP conservatives harping about her views on same-sex marriage and abortion is truly setting them back to their old Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson base. They don't want government to run people's lives yet they want to tell gay and lesbians they cannot choose to get married and women have no choice over their own bodies. What a group of dinosaurs! I hope the Dem wins!!

    October 31, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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