November 1st, 2009
04:51 PM ET
4 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. kd

    wow. Hoffman must REALLY be out there for the Republican to back a Dem.

    November 1, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. S Callahan

    lol Never underestimate a woman, particulary one that is slighted.
    lol....gutsy...

    November 1, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  3. File under "Sarcasm"

    She's hammering nails in her own coffin in a conservative district. Her lack of voter support was because she was not perceived as an alternative to the Democrat and now she has confirmed that to be fact not theory.

    November 1, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  4. We Won Get Over It

    Guess what FAIR AND BALANCED fox has a scroll running along the bottom of the screen that says that the reason Scozzafava resigned WAS TO MAKE ROOM FOR HOFFMAN....ha ha ha ha what a joke. And what a bunch of liars. I just love their unbiased news don't you REAL AMERICANS.

    November 1, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  5. Bravo

    A politcian with integrity; she never had a chance.

    November 1, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  6. juge

    Good for you Dede! I support your intellectual and thoughtful decision. Caring for your district is something that comes from the heart and is beyond political lines.

    November 1, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  7. Pam

    Interesting. Its funny how republicans eat their own. To that I say THANKS.

    November 1, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  8. Gary

    What's wrong with this picture. A "hand picked" republican candidate endorses a democratic because he will serve the people not partisian politics. An insider showing the true colors of the republican agenda, imaging that.

    November 1, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  9. Bull

    That just goes to show us that even the politiician realize that there is not one wit difference between the two political machines. They would actually endorse the other party rather than risk the possibility that a new independently minded party would rise to challenge their system.

    November 1, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  10. Mike C.

    Another Democrat masquerading as a RINO (Republican In Name Only). Good riddance to her! Owens is headed for defeat quickly as the voter revolution to take back our country has begun.. It is time to clean house and quit enabling these liberal phonies, who try to appear as moderates in the Republican party who vote against the conservative principles of most grass root members of the GOP. Just say no to socialism and communism.

    November 1, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  11. dave

    She is a person of honor and integrity.

    November 1, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  12. Blue

    This country cannot stand many more of the right-wing tea baggers because they are of a one-track mind without any flexible thinking.

    November 1, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  13. NYModerate

    Seems like sour grapes to me. She should have just stayed in.

    November 1, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  14. Kitty Wells

    Amazing! There ARE still Republicans who are sane and honest.

    November 1, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  15. Elizabeth

    I admire greatly Scozzafava's courage in announcing publicly her support for Owens. I hope that many more people on both (or all three) sides of the aisle will succeed in overcoming partisonship and work together to move this country forward.

    November 1, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  16. jules sand-perkins

    Eisenhower and Nixon were the Republicans with whom I identified in my youth. Reagan was a great and human president. Their thinking was appropriate FOR THEIR TIME, but the world is evolving socially: if the Republican party–which I loved–wants to stay in the game, they're going to have to offer the less rich a better substitute for money than Jesus and a theologically unevolved, fundamentalist interpretation of the Holy Bible.
    Many Americans are wising up to that stuff.
    Scozzafava wasn't ousted for reasons having ANYTHING to do with taxes.

    November 1, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  17. annie against biased news

    She was never a republican to begin with and this just proves it.
    The RNC better be asking for resumes from their party members running for office.

    November 1, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  18. Sari

    You know, I'm glad she endorsed Owens. Maybe this will wake the Republican party up to exactly how far right of center they have become. If this country is to have the two party system that the major political parties seem to think we need, then both of those parties have a duty to give us people to vote for who aren't completely psychotic religious zealots. Otherwise, it becomes non-choice, like choosing between eating a sandwich and brushing the teeth of an angry hippo.

    November 1, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  19. Minnesotan

    This is interesting because there are no good Republican politicians and even the Republicans know it. Thanks for eight years of failed policies, two wars, and an economy in the toilet, GOP. Keep up the good work making your party irrelevant.

    November 1, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  20. J. Howard

    A RINO makes patently clear that this is what she is and endorses a Democrat in order to allow Speaker Nancy Pelosi continued control of the House. How long and hard did she think of that before she totally turned her back on the Party that gave her a job? Another sad excuse for a politician making excuses for their pathetic careers and more prepared to do what it takes to defend themselves than to serve the general public. Pathetic. Civic duty is dead.

    November 1, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  21. Matt

    She was never really a Republican. It was a closet Democrat endorsing another Democrat because a real Conservative showed up and will do a better job than the two party idiots.

    November 1, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  22. Ron

    No matter how this turns out, it's great to see Scozzafava attempting to upset the GOP bigwigs apple cart.... Wouldn't it be great to see them lose the seat to a Democrat after all the crazed manipulation they've tried? THAT would be sweet!

    November 1, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  23. Artie

    Shezamm! Wonder if there was any sour grapes here?

    November 1, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  24. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    Should he win, please find a stock photo with his mouth shut!

    November 1, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  25. Alfredo

    Looks like a viable third party could become a reality. In the near term it will help the Democrats, but through coalition building, between the right and center right, any advantage will disappear after a few cycles.

    The center right could become powerful in that they would be wooed by both the left and right.

    To make this work we will need public financing. Without it, the Conservative Party will be starved out.

    November 1, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
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