November 1st, 2009
04:51 PM ET
5 years ago

GOP nominee endorses Democrat

Instead of endorsing Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, pictured, Republican Dede Scozzafava chose to endorse a Democrat, according to a statement published online Sunday.
Instead of endorsing Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, pictured, Republican Dede Scozzafava chose to endorse a Democrat, according to a statement published online Sunday.

(CNN) – The Republican Party nominee in this week’s special congressional election in New York endorsed her Democratic opponent Sunday, one day after releasing supporters from their commitment to support her, the Watertown Daily Times reported on its Web site.

New York Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava said she was backing Democrat Bill Owens over Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the special election for ex-GOP Rep. John McHugh’s seat in this northern New York congressional district. McHugh resigned to become Secretary of the Army.

“Since announcing the suspension of my campaign, I have thought long and hard about what is best for the people of this District, and how to answer your questions,” she said in the statement posted on the Web site. “This is not a decision that I have made lightly.”

“In Bill Owens, I see a sense of duty and integrity that will guide him beyond political partisanship. He will be an independent voice devoted to doing what is right for New York. Bill understands this district and its people, and when he represents us in Congress he will put our interests first.”

“I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same.”

CNN has contacted Scozzafava, but has not yet heard back.

Scozzafava was chosen to be the Republican Party nominee by state party officials for the special election scheduled for Tuesday, but her centrist views on a number of issues caused an immediate backlash from conservative activists and national organizations which rallied behind Hoffman’s candidacy.

Owens embraced the endorsement of one time rival.

“I am honored to have Assemblywoman Scozzafava's endorsement,” Owens said in his statement. “Over the course of her career, Dede has always committed to serving the people of Upstate New York before serving a partisan agenda.”

Scozzafava’s decision to back Owens over Hoffman quickly drew criticism from a former campaign aide.

"At the end of the day I believe in the Republican Party and the responsibility of the party to take back the House of Representatives," former Scozzafava campaign spokesman Matt Burns told CNN. "I respect her but we disagree.”

In a separate statement to CNN, Burns said that he was “supporting Doug Hoffman, because denying Nancy Pelosi another foot soldier is vital to restoring fiscal responsibility and common sense in Washington.”

A Siena College poll released Saturday, just hours before Scozzafava announced she was dropping her bid, showed Owens and Hoffman in a virtual tie while she trailed her two rivals by 15 points.

Update, 11:03 p.m.: The statement published in the Watertown Daily Times Sunday was sent via e-mail by Dede Scozzafava to several of her supporters and friends, the New York State Democratic Party tells CNN.  

– CNN’s Shirley Zilberstein and Robert Yoon contributed to this report.


Filed under: Bill Owens • Dede Scozzafava • Doug Hoffman • Extra • NY-23 • Popular Posts
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Joel Miller

    Let the Republican party whither on the extreme right. Hopefully the Dems can pull it together to get something done without them.

    November 1, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  2. Tennessee Supports Democrats

    Wow, that's great! This race is full of surprises! I really do hope that we win, and with her endorsement, I do not see that as entirely out of the question anymore (knock on wood)! I feel as though this just proves the point of the Republican Party being a real club. If you do not agree on everything, you are pushed out. Notice that the GOP endorsed Hoffman IMMEDIATELY after Scossafava pulled out. I feel as though we are on the right track, and may yet take this seat on Tuesday. Let's hope so anyway!

    November 1, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. charlie in Maine

    Dear Republicans,

    I am sorry to see that your party has been high-jacked by the far right. I remember the days when the GOP respecfully disagreed with my party and I miss those days. Not just because I agree less with the far-right but beacause sometime the GOP had better ideas than we did. Now you have to pass some kind of Limbaugh inspired litmus test to be a real Republican how sad.If the GOP keeps it up they will miss future leaders like Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr. Margrette Chase Smith and Olympia Snowe. If you keep treating your moderates like weeds you will have as Newt says a "perfect minority". Your choice I guess.

    November 1, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  4. Obama fan...not!

    Corruption exposed.....Arlen the second....just a suggestion but they may want to get rid of the rats that selected her...GO HOFFMAN!

    November 1, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  5. Just Say No to Socialism

    Kind of confirms what most conservatives have been saying all along. She was Republican in name only. We have enough of these liberals calling them selfs Republicans, glad this one didnt make it into office!

    November 1, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  6. Reagan was wrong

    Republicans will see this as a validation of their claims that Scozzafava is some sort of Trotskyist and that's as far as their thinking will go.

    Pity that they will never even contemplate that perhaps Scozzafava, as someone who is familiar with the issues affecting New York's 23rd district ,is endorsing Owens because he too is familiar with these issues, as opposed to Hoffman, who is an outsider driven by ideology.

    November 1, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  7. RIGHT ON LIB BACKS LIB

    Who would of known the ACORN lady was a liberal in disguise?Gee when the daily kos , also an acorn affiliate,both are endorsing you who can say your not a real democrat?Oh ya Newtie believed her,Collins in Maine too.They actually believed this nonsense she would vote with republicans,and be fiscally conservative.Meanwhile ignoring her tax & spend free for all record in Aubany.It is fortunate some in their stupid party had the guts to speak out.No wonder conservatives have being leaving the GOP.After 6 years of watching the Bush gang spend like drunken sailors who can blame them.However the last 2 years they watched an even worse fiasco of dems doubling spending and Bush letting it go on.A conservative party might be on the political horizon in America.If both these parties keep this up it will be.

    November 1, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  8. Thomasr

    Somebody on the other side of the aisle with integrity and decency. Man that is so rare it is almost breath taking.

    November 1, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  9. Keith in Austin

    Dede is a liberal-leaning beurocrat. That is why she dropped out of the race in the first place because she knows that America is sick and tired of left-wing progressives like her!

    November 1, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  10. T'SAH from Virginia

    THEY'RE HERE!!!!!!! Moving away from the REPUBLI-CAN'Ts is becoming a FAD!!! And imagine – the head of the REPUBS's party – STEELE – endorsed DeDe.... Hmm, is STEELE next???? LOL

    November 1, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  11. Gary

    We have room in our party for Republicans willing to put the American people ahead of partison politics.

    November 1, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  12. 912projectmom

    Dede is an Obama lite candidate. Good riddance!!! Who needs this looser!!! Just another republican who only cares about representing herself. The fact that she decided to back the Democrat is no surprise here. She ran under the republican party's umbrella just so either party would yield the same results. This woman is a true embarrassment to all Republicans. Just Go Away Dede ... and don't let the door hit you on your way out!!!

    November 1, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  13. Albo58

    Bye bye to Dede and all your RINO ideas! Her endorsement of the Dimwit just goes to show you how "loyal" she was...nuff said!

    November 1, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  14. carl w.landers

    If scozzafava could be called centrist ,I would hate what they would call left wing she has the same thoughts and lines up with the dem she was running against and now backs .having her in office would be the same as having the dem in office.Les at least stand for somthing or let the dems have the office.I am glad the stand was made to run a real rep against her.

    November 1, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. Ridgeway

    Of course had she gotten the GOP nomination her opponent would have been a complete nimrod twit unfit for Congress. I'm surprised she could speak with her mouth puckered up from sour grapes.

    November 1, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  16. Hirotomi Takemitsu

    That's what you get you right-wing Republican losers.

    GO OWENS!!!

    November 1, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  17. RH

    American politics is never about what you're for anymore. It's all about what you're against.

    November 1, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  18. Tonyfop

    Wow! I never thought I would see the Dems and Repubs backing each other over fear of their worst nightmare: people running for office with the people's wishes first. This just proves that neither party represents us. People like Hoffman represent all of us, and his victory could propel us into a new era, going back to the fouding father's wish of House of Representatives being made up of ordinary citizens. Hopefully "We The People" can take this country back from the Dems and Repubs. Hopefully.

    November 1, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  19. Greg, MN

    Maybe thats why all the Republicans have endorsed the Conservative candidate.

    November 1, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  20. Tommygunn

    It is a shame a REPUBLICAN has to resign from their party because of EXTREME VIEWS of the CONSERVATIVES.

    Scozzafava truly represents REPUBLICAN views that are moderate, and in these days and times that is NOT an OPTION from the CONSERVATIVE perspective.....(Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, FOX Channel, Sarah, Tim P and company...)

    INDEPENDENTS BEWARE!!!!! The "CONSERVATIVE" REPUBLICANs are wanting in your camp.

    It will be an interesting week....

    November 1, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  21. Bob

    It's too bad the voters in the 23rd weren't allowed to make their preference clear at the ballot box. Instead, the conservatives are making the choice for voters.

    November 1, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  22. b

    im a palin democrat and will vote for the conservative because Scozzafava is just another 2 face liar

    November 1, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  23. IS IT 2012 YET ??

    The end of the Obama era is coming into view. Hurry 2010. Hurry 2012. Please hurry.

    November 1, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  24. fred

    too bad all her supporters are non-existant! vote hoffman

    November 1, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  25. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Now THAT is non partisan!
    For the good of the PEOPLE, not the party or the lobbyists.
    I'm sorry you didn't stay in.

    November 1, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
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