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

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

Romney is not making an endorsement in the NY 23 race.'

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. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Flip Romney just wants to be the oddball.

    October 29, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. Fools and their freedoms are soon parted

    Can i get a liberal Mormon to call out those in thier party against the hate speach??? I know you are out there....

    October 29, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. Reformed Republican

    Just like ole' Mitt and the rest of his rethuglicon cronies...

    When it comes time to make a REAL decision they just say "NO", kick the can down the road or offer a tax cut for the filty rich.

    Now that's the type of "government can't work, elect us and we'll prove it" leadership we have come to know and love from the GOP.

    October 29, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |

    Wimpy windbag!

    October 29, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. Liberal4Obama

    Funny how republicans wont support their own candidates and then they ask Americans to waste their votes voting for them in elections.

    October 29, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. Michael

    What a political opportunist.

    October 29, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. LacrosseMom

    Romney is protecting himself, he KNOWS there are TWO GOP losers in the NY23 race, and he doesn't want to be associated with either one!


    October 29, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Andi

    It's not his District. Why do people care who he supports?

    October 29, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  9. tom in sj

    Palin & Romey ticket ? The "big " voices of republican party would endorse that .Limbaugh,hannity,beck and o'reilly and ofcourse thier bosses at Fox make boring one sided comentaries ....

    October 29, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Duck Fallas

    He consulted his magic 8 ball underwear- the answer was "not clear at this time"

    October 29, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. Proud Member, Partyofdumbasrocks

    Smart move Romney. But I hope you're not a waffler! Maybe you waffle because both the [R] and [C] candidate are dumb as rocks for being the messengers of the rightwing underbelly of this nation. Of course now we have to consider the same concern in your case....but in your case the issue is even more sweet. You have veered to the right in an attempt to court the base of the [R] party, the very BIGOTS that will never vote for you because of your religion. Just how smart does that make you? [R]s need some serious genetic counceling.

    October 29, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. Laverne

    It is clear Romney is trying to play it safe so he can go either way when whichever person wins. It is just something about this guy I don't like. You may not be an Obama fan, but Mitt Romney is not the right alternative and if he wins the republican nomination, I will vote for Obama!

    October 29, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. bob in LA

    Of course he won't – he blows with the wind and whatever he thinks works best for his future. The man doesn't care about the future of any city or state, only his.

    October 29, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. glib lib

    Why is everyone "weighing in " on this anyway? Don't these republicans realize that this makes them look like a party that not only can't agree with democrats but can't even agree with each other.

    October 29, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. Reagan was wrong

    Although I disagree with Romney on almost everything, his intellect towers above that of the rest of the GOP, and this decision shows it.

    October 29, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Romney needs to check back with Limbaugh before he makes a decision.

    Limbaugh is the king of the GOP.

    October 29, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Today is not a good day to be a lying Republican. Tomorrow doesn't look good either.

    October 29, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. Mark

    Romney in 2012! Save our country!

    October 29, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. Dan

    I live in Mass and let me tell you Romney was a lousy governor. He was never here and when he was all he did was cut programs that aided the needy such as those who are physically and mentally disabled, while still using tax payer dollars for drycleaning. It was also on his watch that many Big Dig problems came to light but he was too busy running for President to do anything about it.
    Then to top it off he trashes the state he's supposed to govern to any right win nut who will listen. Real classy guy.
    Thank the good lord above he isn't President.

    October 29, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    The last thing we upstate NYers need is to know what Mitt cares about. Mitt has shown enough that he cares very little about people, he is too concerned with which special interest group, union, lobbyist, Wall Street bank, PAC etc...will fill his pockets.

    October 29, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. Ken

    Now there's a man of strong convictions!!!
    Which way is the wind blowing????

    October 29, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |

    Looks like this is a litmus test that Mitt wants no part of. This is the GOP Waterloo. Loonies or nobody. This is the reason why they just keep fading away. Please nominate Palin again.

    October 29, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. carlos, THAT one

    who would want to be endorsed by this has been........will be a really KISS your chances good bye for the candidates........LIBERALS: vote one of our own, send the GOPhers back to their sties where they belong

    October 29, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Joseph B

    If Romney runs for president, will he have the same approach of staying out of issues when there are differences? That makes no sense...

    October 29, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. Jim


    Way to take a stand...at least this way he can't flip flop

    October 29, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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