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. Gary, Sacramento

    "Carl Justus October 31st, 2009 3:22 pm ET
    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."

    You're not following the action here, buddy. The GOP bosses put forth a liberal, and the PEOPLE of the district would not support her. And regarding the comments of many about the supposed narrowminded of conservatives, when is the last time the Dems promoted a candidate that was pro-life, pro small government?

    October 31, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. Realist

    Cutting through all of the partisan hyper-ventilating here reacting to today's news, here's the bottom line:

    Hoffmann will win the election on Tuesday because his views reflect the views of the voters of this district better than those of his opponent.

    And also, because 80%+ of the voter enthusiasm is on his side of the ledger, not Owen's.

    There. You read it here first.

    October 31, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. JSL

    That'll teach 'em. Run it by Tubby first before you do anything.

    October 31, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. mjm

    StillThere?............Please stop paying attention to bi-partisan politics..

    Spoken like a true Democrat. What do you think "bi-partisan" means?

    October 31, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. mjm

    Republicans are the American Taliban..........only if it's Clinton.

    Us Taliban like Palin just fine. It's RINO's and Libs we can't stand.

    October 31, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. jules sand-perkins

    I am deeply disappointed.
    Does every Republican have to think the very same way about every single issue?
    That means that Republicans are relieved of the responsibility to think, ever, at all, for themselves. They can ask, "OK, I'm a Republican: what do I think–about socialism, about Communism, about God, about abortion, gay rights, and the new dog catcher?"
    My PRIMARY political orientation has always been Republican...but it's beginning to have a different affect.
    I wonder...we know that times change–am I changing, too?

    October 31, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  7. IS IT 2012 YET ??

    The end of the Obama era is in sight.

    October 31, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  8. A.B.

    My dear, the Republicans ate one of their own!! Well, hopefully, the Democrat, Bill Owens will beat the conservative, Hoffman by a landslide and win. Sarah Palin had a role in the cannibalization of Dede Scazzofava. This proves how ruthless the Republicans really are. They will do anythng to win and keep power at any cost!!

    October 31, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  9. mervel

    The problem for the GOP is that they don't understand this district. DeDe would have been a relatively loyal Republican in Congress. However MOST of her support is going to go to Owens the Democrat. This helps the Democratic candidate here. Hoffman does not even reside in this district and has shown he does not understand our needs. If she would have stayed in the race it would have split the vote allowing Hoffman to possibly win. With her out, the Democrat wins.

    October 31, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  10. Brian MacDougall

    Here is the Republican Southern strategy writ large. It is, by all metrics, a losing proposition. Consider this: if Hoffman wins, the Dems shrug it off because it's a long-standing Republican stronghold. They'll spin any decent vote count as progress in a tough district. The win would embolden far-right GOP strategists to try the same thing in 2012 in riskier districts, and chill their moderate members, probably to disastrous effect. That's a big win for Dems. If Hoffman loses, it puts another district in the blue and repudiates Palin, and we all know how she reacts to being wrong. Lots and lots of finger-pointing and demonstrations of her political ADHD. It will definitely be interesting to see what happens, but I think the GOP stepped right into it.

    October 31, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  11. mjm

    Owens is comparing Hoffman to Bush? Good. Bush had less than 6% unemployment....What's it at now?

    Most people in NY-23 will be comparing Hoffman to Bloomberg, who endorsed Hoffman.

    I'm sorry.....StillThere?'s comments are right in front of me... he/she said "and take back what our ancestors and families fought so hard to achieve."

    The founding fathers were conservative Republicans...not tax and spend liberals like Obama.

    October 31, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  12. Andy

    The conservatives who were bitter about her nomination STILL don't get it. Nobody cares what they think, say, or do. They will continue to see their supporters more and more marginalized until soon the conservative party will cease to exist for all intents and purposes.
    "Abortion, abortion, abortion, abortion" – that's all they can say. It's always the same old, tired mantra from these old white men.
    They only care about themselves and other rich white people. They have power for the past few years and we voted them out in both houses of congress and in the Presidency. Why? Because we are sick of hearing them and seeing them. They add nothing to help our country. They are full of hatred for all democratic.

    October 31, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. Vicki

    I am sick & tired of hearing how the republicans are ruining the party by trying to go back to our conservative roots!! We have ruined the party by going more LIBERAL!! If we wanted a liberal in office we would vote DEMOCRAT!!

    The biggest proof is McCain. He was the most liberal canidate we had on the other side & he didn't win. He only got as many votes as he did because of Palin!! We do NOT want liberals in our party!! We are the party of the elephant, not the RINO!!!

    October 31, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. charlie in Maine

    I know a party that would welcome your views come on and join.

    October 31, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  15. SteelerBeliever

    This is going to be a bloodbath... the libs will whine and come up with excuses why their boy lost, and it will be buckets of sour grapes... but the truth is that, thank God, the country is starting to wake up. You can only spend so many trillion dollars before We The People figure out what's going on and start the move to restore sanity, real sanity, to state & federal elected "officials"...

    Only 1102 days to go to 11/6/12.

    October 31, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |

    wow! it stinks of liberal fear in here. This what happens when a radical leftist sneaks his way into the white house. The truth is america is right wing conservative. we have been waiting for real conservatives to show themselves. ACORN and conservative dissatisfaction is the only reason black ceasar is in office. You can keep spewing the liberal fascist talking points that this is a divided party, but the truth is this the tea party movement taking back this country from all you american hating douchebags! After 2010 and 2012 America will be no place for socialists. you have been warned! So, ponder that and have a nice weekend

    October 31, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  17. kman821

    Upstate NY ... the reality, much to do about nothing!

    October 31, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  18. ricardo maxwell

    Another thing CNN restricts posts co that liberals nut jobs outnumber rational conservative Americans by a large margin. Then they close comments. Does anyone believe this far left state run media outlet ever tells the truth about anything?

    October 31, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  19. JasonK

    Any bad news for GOP is goodnews for America

    October 31, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  20. Kurt from Alberta

    Ryan: "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."

    Uhm, didn't the national debt balloon under Reagan... and oh yes, he also increased taxes.

    And after the Civil War, didn't the states loose power (in this area, I certainly agree with Lincoln).

    You wacky conservatives and your revisionist history. It's just so cute!

    October 31, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. David Ahmanson

    MOST Republicans, though not all, do NOT think that women should stay home and clean, as the popularity of Sarah Palin surely shows.

    I respect her for bowing out like this, but I really do support the movement against her. Not that I am necessarily against moderate Republicans, but in what way, and how much? The support for same-sex marriage I don't agree with, but can deal with. However, I could never support a pro-choice candidate.

    Further, I support the running of moderate Republicans in liberal leaning areas with traditions of Democratic leanings, to win the left-of-center over. This district is traditionally Republican.

    Further, I'd love to see a viable third party in this country, and to have even one seat belonging to someone who's neither Republican, Democrat, nor Independent would be great.

    October 31, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  22. Andy

    I've got some shocking news for you, are you sitting down? Most Americans no longer approve of your so called "values", so we voted your "value" people out.
    Most Americans are pro-choice. The Majority supports abortion in case of rape, incest, or harm to the mother. You conservatives can't even get there. The law of the land on abortion can be changed but not to what the right wing conservatives want. I'm going to watch my wife die during childbirth because Rush Limbaugh's "Values" demand it? No, never will happen. Civil war II would start.
    Gay marriage? Who cares anymore, it's beside the point. The majority may not like it, but they don't want to hear about it. It's almost a non-issue.
    The government ran by your people got everything out of control and that's why everybody voted them out of power.
    If your percentages about how people consider themselves are correct, then why did they vote the way they did in November? We are paying attention and staying informed and that's why we voted the Republicans out.
    The U.S. is a no longer a center-right country. We have a strong constitution that would have to be shredded to become socialist.

    Most Americans used to believe in God, guns, and country. We are electing people who represent us and share our values. Again, that's news to you I guess, but in November 2008, we elected Democrats to run the country.
    Nancy Pelosi is the leader of the democratic party. That makes her a leader of the majority of Americans who helped elect the majority. She is not in a tiny minority, she is in a large majority.
    It's Revolution time because the Repubs lost power? I say that the "Real" Americans just stepped up in November and voted. Its time to celebrate not revolt. At least that's what the majority of Americans want.
    If there is revolution again, it will lose on my street in Florida. We got as many guns as you guys do.

    October 31, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  23. Peter E

    Hey republicans!
    The key to your survival is not to swing farther to the right, but rather to center. These things go in cycles, I hated to have seen Reagan become president yet there was no denying the country needed to get rid of excesses.
    It's the time again, to get rid of excesses, but this time the ones sown by the GOP. I'm sure the pendulum will swing again the other way.
    Till then vote democrat, they are the only game in town right now, no matter what the right wingers say. Don't believe me? check your 401K.

    October 31, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  24. S. Martin

    Well, I just hope Owens, the Democrat, wins. Republicans are disgraceful. They have no suggestions. All they do is say no to Obama because they want him to fail. My husband is up there in Watertown on the base at Ft. Drum counseling the soldiers. They need a rep with ideas, not a conservative stuck in the past. It is a bit of a dreary place but there re some nice towns up there. New ideas are needed. Go Owens. Go Obama.

    October 31, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  25. S. Martin

    Go Owens,the Democrat. That place is dreary and needs new ideas. My husband is up there onthe base, Ft. Drum. They need a Democrat not those conervatives without any ideas. Go Obama!!!

    October 31, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
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