November 1st, 2009
04:51 PM ET
13 years ago

GOP nominee endorses Democrat

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Instead of endorsing Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, pictured, Republican Dede Scozzafava chose to endorse a Democrat, according to a statement published online Sunday."]
(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.

Scozzafava was chosen to be the Republican Party nominee by state party officials for the special election scheduled for Tuesday, but her centrist views on a number of issues caused an immediate backlash from conservative activists and national organizations which rallied behind Hoffman’s candidacy.

Owens embraced the endorsement of one time rival.

“I am honored to have Assemblywoman Scozzafava's endorsement,” Owens said in his statement. “Over the course of her career, Dede has always committed to serving the people of Upstate New York before serving a partisan agenda.”

Scozzafava’s decision to back Owens over Hoffman quickly drew criticism from a former campaign aide.

"At the end of the day I believe in the Republican Party and the responsibility of the party to take back the House of Representatives," former Scozzafava campaign spokesman Matt Burns told CNN. "I respect her but we disagree.”

In a separate statement to CNN, Burns said that he was “supporting Doug Hoffman, because denying Nancy Pelosi another foot soldier is vital to restoring fiscal responsibility and common sense in Washington.”

A Siena College poll released Saturday, just hours before Scozzafava announced she was dropping her bid, showed Owens and Hoffman in a virtual tie while she trailed her two rivals by 15 points.

Update, 11:03 p.m.: The statement published in the Watertown Daily Times Sunday was sent via e-mail by Dede Scozzafava to several of her supporters and friends, the New York State Democratic Party tells CNN.  

- CNN’s Shirley Zilberstein and Robert Yoon contributed to this report.

Filed under: Bill Owens • Dede Scozzafava • Doug Hoffman • Extra • NY-23 • Popular Posts
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. James Fitzroy

    After being stabbed in the back by so many members of her own party, it's hard to blame her.

    November 1, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  2. Scott Wilmore

    Good for Dede. Integrity counts, and the bottom line is; we don't need any more fundamentalist Republicans. Yankees come home!

    November 1, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  3. smiff

    Ah the Colin Powell approach. Nice touch by insincere sore losers. Both parties playing games. So much for putting America first!

    November 1, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  4. Greg

    Good for her. To the far right this will seem like sour grapes but who cares. She should have gotten the GOP support in the first place. Hoffman was imported. He's not from the 23rd district. She knows this district and Hoffman doesn't. It's a pretty sad statement to the GOP when they have to bring in far right people to win a district that has voted Republican for 60 years. Keep chasing the moderates out of your party conservatives and you'll be smaller than you are now. If she can get half of her supporters to vote for Owens this will be a major upset for the GOP.

    November 1, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  5. Mark

    The conservatives didn't want her and now you know why.

    November 1, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  6. John of NY23

    Those in the republican party who can think outside the box and allow for personal decisions by the individual in lieu of a govt making the decision are good. However, Scuzzy make a tactical error. She supported card check. Card check is an infringement of a person's right to freedom of choice in the work place. The north country knows that, there are few union companies up here, thankfully. We cannot afford that type of thinking. I have no issue with union individuals just the fat corporations that represent them. Card check is an invitation for outsiders to enter our home and steal our jobs. Sounds backwards but that is real. We are an independent thinkers in the north country not lemmings.

    November 1, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  7. Angie

    Dede can just move right on across the isle.......and take Senator Snowe with her. We don't claim her anymore!

    November 1, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  8. Tony in Maine

    Uh Oh!

    Rush is going to be verrrrrry angry. His face will turn purple, he'll bounce in his seat and read Scozzafava out of the Dark Side.

    Welcome to the Democratic Party Dede, there's plenty of room over here for dissenting opinions. Sometimes I think too much, then I look at what's happening to the Republicans in their quest for ideological purity.

    November 1, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  9. Black Viper

    This is so funny. Dede Scozzafava may be very analytic and know what and who is good for her district but the blind ideologues tea party uneducated republicans in her district will not see it that way because the lack the vision of future.
    It like trying to convince a jehovah witness to do a blood transfusion in order to survive or ask a muslim to eat pork even if he is starving to death.

    November 1, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  10. Ancient Texan

    Many voters had already decided she was more aligned with Democrats than Republicans. So had she been elected, she would have been more like Arlen Spector; voting with liberals on most issues.

    November 1, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  11. J.C. - Independent & Insured

    I am impressed by Ms. Dede Scozzafava.

    November 1, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  12. Bassman

    Sarah Palin wrote on her Facebook:
    " Unfortunately, the Republican Party today has decided to choose a candidate who more than blurs the lines, and there is no real difference between the Democrat and the Republican in this race. Scozzafava's backing of the Democrat proves Sarah was right. Scozzafava isnt a Republican.

    November 1, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. She's my hero

    That was brave of her to buck the party and do what she thinks is right. The RNC was not very smart to throw their weight behind Hoffman minutes after Scoffafava pulled out, it was a crass move on their part. Hoffman is calling her a turncoat and Palin is looking really stupid right about now. Palin should stay out of peoples race and concentrate on making the cash she quit her job for. Run Dede Run. Run away from these intolerant morons called conservatives with the narrow agenda for America. We need thinking people in congress not zombies with social agendas.

    Prediction Democrats win all three elections on Nov 3. I'll be up watching the results, can't wait.

    November 1, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  14. gary

    Good for her, not backing down to the back stabbing republican brass. palin,rush the drug addict, beck they will destroy your party. This is great for democracy.

    November 1, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  15. andrea

    This doesn't surprise me considering the radical right and what they are currently trying to promote.
    Moderate seems the best choice.. most voters are more comfortable with that .

    November 1, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  16. Ken in NC

    Well I must admit that I am a bit taken aback by this move on the part of Scozzalava but I guess it shows the position of the Republican party in that district. I think this country may be about to position itself for the coming of a bonified Independent third party and if that is the case then Democrats and Republicans are in trouble.

    November 1, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  17. Truly Independent in IL

    “At the end of the day I believe in the Republican Party and the responsibility of the party to take back the House of Representatives,”

    Wow... So IT IS about the party over the people. Nice.

    It's disheartening that now it's about being a Republican or Democrat instead of being an American

    November 1, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
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