(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.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who came under fire from some conservatives for endorsing Dede Scozzafava in next week's special Congressional election in New York, is now backing Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman.
Gingrich made the announcement via Twitter shortly after the Republican Party nominee Scozzafava announced she was releasing supporters from their commitment to back her.
"Scozzafava dropping out leaves hoffman as only anti-tax anti-pelosi vote in ny 23 Every voter opposed to tax increases support doug hoffman," Gingrich wrote on Twitter. (Tweet shown as it appeared)
Polling showed that Scozzafava was running third in this special election for what had been a traditionally safe Republican seat.
But a split among Republicans over who to support, Scozzafava or the more conservative Hoffman, opened the door for Democratic nominee Bill Owens to capture the seat.
National Republican Party officials, who had also endorsed Scozzafava, are now lining up behind Hoffman.
This new show of GOP unity will make it more difficult for Owens to win the election on Tuesday.
(CNN) - Nearly $1.8 million worth of ad spending has flooded the airwaves in New York's 23rd congressional district in the runup to next week's special election to fill that seat.
Democrat Bill Owens, the SEIU, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have spent more than $822,000 so far, with the majority of that money coming from Owens, according to an analysis by TNSMI-CMAG, CNN's consultant on political advertising. Embattled Republican Dede Scozzafava's campaign, the state party and the National Republican Congressional Committee have laid out $536,072 in support of her bid - but just under $67,000 has come from the state assemblywoman's cash-poor campaign.
And roughly $429,000 worth of ads have aired on Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman's behalf, with the majority of those funds coming from the fiscally conservative Club for Growth.
When the Club for Growth's $287,000 in TV ads aimed at swaying conservative-leaning voters on Hoffman's behalf first hit the airwaves a few weeks ago, Scozzafava enjoyed a slim but statistically significant edge in this Republican-leaning district: A Siena survey released earlier this month, before the Club for Growth and Hoffman ads hit the airwaves, found she held a 7-point edge over Owens, 35-28 percent. Hoffman registered 16 percent – despite the fact that roughly 7 in 10 of those polled didn't know who he was. The seat's previous occupant, former GOP Rep. John McHugh – who left office to serve as President Obama's Secretary of the Army – won re-election in 2008 by nearly 2-to-1 over his Democratic challenger.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - After a dizzying few days of prominent Republican endorsements of the Conservative Party's nominee in New York's 23rd congressional district, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said he will stand behind the embattled GOP candidate in the upcoming special election.
Steele will back Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava, breaking with some party conservatives - including Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Fred Thompson and Dick Armey - who are backing third-party candidate Doug Hoffman.
"I support the Republican nominee, as the Republican Party chairman," Steele told MSNBC Wednesday morning. "And that's the way it should go."
Scozzafava has an endorsement from former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the NRA - but some prominent conservative leaders, activists and groups who view her as too liberal have thrown their weight behind Hoffman.
Scozzafava, Hoffman and Bill Owens are on the ballot in the special election to fill the congressional seat vacated by former GOP Rep. John Hughes, now President Obama's Secretary of the Army. Election Day is November 3.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Just four days after professing ignorance about the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district, Tim Pawlenty changed course Monday and decided to endorse Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman instead of the Republican in the race.
Pawlenty's move follows decisions by other prominent national conservatives - including Sarah Palin, Fred Thompson, Dick Armey and Rick Santorum - to line up against the GOP candidate, Dede Scozzafava. They and other activists on the right have accused Scozzafava of being too liberal for the GOP, and are throwing resources and support to Hoffman.
The Minnesota governor, who is courting conservatives as he mulls a possible 2012 presidential bid, made his endorsement in an e-mail to the blog RedState.
"We cannot send more politicians to Washington who wear the Republican jersey on the campaign trail, but then vote like Democrats in Congress on issues like card check and taxes," Pawlenty said in the statement. "After reviewing the candidates' positions, I'm endorsing Doug Hoffman in New York's special election. Doug understands the federal government needs to quit spending so much, will vote against tax increases, and protect key values like the right to vote in private in union elections."
Last Thursday, after a fundraiser in Washington, Pawlenty told reporters he wasn't following the race and declined to make an endorsement.
"You know I haven't been following that, I haven't studied the race at all," he said at the time. "It's not that I would or wouldn't, I just don't know anything about it. I haven't taken the time to study their positions, their records, so I haven't taken a position on it."
Scozzafava and Hoffman are on the ballot along with Democrat Bill Owens. Election Day is November 3.
UPDATE: A Pawlenty aide reports that the governor's recently-created "Freedom First" political action committee will donate $2,400 to the Hoffman campaign, the maximum contribution allowed. The gift marks the PAC's first donation since it was formed earlier this month.
(CNN) - Doug Hoffman - the conservative third party candidate running in upstate New York's closely watched special congressional election - raked in $116,000 in the last 24 hours, a campaign spokesman confirmed to CNN.
The cash haul came the same day former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made a surprise endorsement in the race, voicing her support of Hoffman over the Republican Party's nominee, Dede Scozzafava.
But Hoffman spokesman Rob Ryan said much of the cash came before Palin made her endorsement public Wednesday evening, and is more a sign of the campaign's growing momentum in the race's final days. Other conservatives have also recently aligned behind Hoffman, including former Rep. Dick Armey, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and Rep. Michele Bachmann.
In recent weeks, conservative activists have launched massive online efforts urging supporters to donate to Hoffman in the race's final days to send a message to Republican Party leadership.
"It's sort of like what you saw with Obama…when you hit a certain critical mass of media attention, and the bloggers writing about you and everything else, it starts driving the money," said Ryan.
The election to fill the House seat for New York's 23rd district arose after former Republican Rep. John M. McHugh resigned the post to become secretary of the army. The campaign has exposed division amongst the GOP over whether to support the more moderate Republican candidate or the upstart third-party challenger whose stances are more in line with those of the conservative base.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty, two Republicans widely viewed as possible 2012 White House hopefuls, weighed in Thursday night on the closely-watched special election in New York's 23rd congressional district. They chose very different approaches - but neither endorsed the GOP candidate.
Calling it a matter of principle, Palin - the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate - bucked her party and enthusiastically endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over Republican Dede Scozzafava. The race has attracted national attention, especially from grassroots activists who accuse Scozzafava of not being conservative enough to run under the Republican party mantle.
"Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty," the former Alaska governor wrote on her Facebook page. "Political parties must stand for something."
Palin then urged her supporters to donate to Hoffman, who she said "has not been anointed by any political machine."
Just minutes before she made the announcement, Pawlenty happened to be speaking to reporters in Washington after a fundraiser for his new political action committee. The Minnesota governor refused to make an endorsement when asked about the race.
"You know I haven't been following that, I haven't studied the race at all," he said. "It's not that I would or wouldn't, I just don't know anything about it. I haven't taken the time to study their positions, their records, so I haven't taken a position on it."
(CNN) - The conservative Club for Growth is taking aim at both the Democratic and Republican candidates running in the special election to fill former New York Rep. John McHugh's seat.
The group, which has already backed third-party candidate Doug Hoffman, is spending $250,000 on radio and TV ads targeting Democrat Bill Owens and Republican Dede Scozzafava.
Hoffman registered 16 percent in the Siena poll released Thursday. Scozzafava draws 35 percent in the same survey, and the well-funded Owens takes 28 percent.