Washington (CNN) – Dede Scozzafava, the Republican New York assemblywoman who gave up her bid for a House seat late last month, is decrying the "vicious" attacks she underwent from people within her own party.
"The attacks were pretty vicious, especially since it was coming from people that identified themselves as Republicans," Scozzafava told CNN's John Roberts on American Morning Wednesday. "So that was difficult to overcome."
Scozzafava ultimately gave up her bid in New York's special congressional elections for the 23rd district after conservatives rallied around third-party candidate Doug Hoffman and charged Scozzafava was too liberal on a host of issues including government spending, taxes, and abortion rights.
Scozzafava, who maintains she is not as liberal as her critics claim, endorsed the Democrat in the race who ultimately went on to victory - the first time a Democrat won in that district in over 100 years.
"Hopefully a lesson can be learned and we can move forward and make the party stronger and understand that there are many voices that make a party but we can all agree around core principles," Scozzafava told CNN.
Viewed as a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, the race attracted national attention and exposed divisions within the GOP between its conservative base and the party's leadership who often back more moderate candidates with a better chance of winning a general election.
In the interview with CNN, Scozzafava said conservatives should seek to understand the local issues in each race before rushing to make an endorsement in future elections.
"I hope that races can revolve around the needs of the district that the people are running to represent," she said. "I think that's the most important thing and the focus on every race. You're never going to have perfect ideology. If you are you're never going to move forward because no one's going to think independently."