October 29th, 2009
12:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Romney won't back either Republican or Conservative in NY 23 Race

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/16/art.romney0716,gi.jpg caption="Romney is not making an endorsement in the NY 23 race.'"](CNN) - Is Mitt Romney weighing in on the intra-Republican Party fight in race for New York's 23 Congressional District by refusing to make an endorsement?

That's the special election where the GOP nominee, Dede Scozzafava, is facing a challenge not only from Bill Owens, the Democrat's candidate, but also from Doug Hoffman, who's running on the conservative party line. Because of the split among Republicans, Owens has a good chance of taking back a district the Democrats haven't won in generations.

On Wednesday Romney was asked whether he'd make an endorsement in the New York 23 contest.

"I have chosen not to endorse the Republican candidate in New York's 23rd District," Romney told reporters while campaigning in Virginia for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell. "That should speak a certain amount of volume. I can't endorse our candidate in that race."

Many top conservatives have weighed in on the race in the past few weeks, endorsing Hoffman, who jumped into the contest as a third party candidate after failing to gain the nod of Republican leaders in the district.

Among those backing Hoffman are possible 2012 GOP presidential contenders Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum. Both Romney and Mike Huckabee have refused to make an endorsement, while Newt Gingrich is supporting Scozzafava.

"Mitt Romney is a Republican and he tends to support the Republican candidate in races and when he can't because there are too many differences on the issues, he stays out of the race altogether and that's the course he's following in the New York special election. He doesn't plan to make any endorsement at all," Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom tells CNN.

The election in the three-way race to fill a vacant congressional seat is 5 days away. The office opened up 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 is 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 are angry with what they call her liberal views on same-sex marriage and abortion.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. lisa

    Who cares what this man has to say. He is a huge Jesus Freak to begin with, Bush said he always consulted with the "Almighty"

    Well look at where those consultation sessions got us. We do not need a repeat of that, esp. a Mormon to boot. Yikes, that is even more scary.

    To read about what the Mormons believe is as scary as Scienctology!
    No thanks Mitt.

    October 29, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  2. ICARE

    Smart guy. He shouldnt back anyone. An elephant is an elephant and they both must duke it out themselves.

    October 29, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. S M R

    Our best chance for Our Great Country to fully RECOVER is to VOTE DEMOCRAT. You don't believe me? JUST LOOK AT THE PAST FOR THE TRUTH.

    October 29, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Bubble of Sanity

    Typical Romney. The only one he's looking out for is Number One. He is a hypocrite, and would sell his soul to the devil if he thought it might get him elected somewhere; in fact, he may have already done it.

    October 29, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. Barbara Indpendent in NY

    Thanks for not jumping in Mitt. We already heard from enough idiots in your party. Sorry, but I still wouldn't vote for you for president.

    October 29, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. FRANK, Las Vegas

    Is anyone surprised, he has no convictions or he's afraid to take a stand and come out on the wrong side. But he didn't have a problem taking sides in VA. Or maybe he's saying he doesn't like either of them! Maybe he wants to start a 3rd arm of the GOP....LOL

    October 29, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. lovable liberal

    Romney: I will take no position before it's clear what will benefit me.

    October 29, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
1 2 3