[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/01/art.clubforgrowth.jpg
caption="Dede Scozzafava was under intense pressure from conservatives for being too 'liberal'."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Dede Scozzafava dropped out of New York's 23rd District special election Saturday, citing a slip in the polls as a factor contributing to her decision.
"In recent days, polls have indicated that my chances of winning this election are not as strong as we would like them to be," Scozzafava said in a statement released by her campaign.
"The reality that I've come to accept is that in today's political arena, you must be able to back up your message with money, and as I've been outspent on both sides, I've been unable to effectively address many of the charges that have been made about my record."
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, because they felt her moderate views would appeal to centrist Republicans, independents, and even some Democrats.
Scozzafava, whose name will remain on the November 3 ballot, said "victory is unlikely."
"I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so," she said.
Later: Scozzafava endorses Owens
The seat opened up earlier this year 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 was 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 were angry with what they call her liberal views on same-sex marriage and abortion.
Hoffman's campaign was quick to respond Saturday, claiming he represents a change from normal Washington politics.
"This morning's events prove what we have said for the last week; this campaign is a horse race between me and Nancy Pelosi's handpicked candidate, Bill Owens," Hoffman said in a statement.
"It's time for us to send a message to Washington - we're sick and tired of big-spending, high-taxing, career politicians and by voting for me on Tuesday you will send that message loud and clear," he said.