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

GOP nominee endorses Democrat

Instead of endorsing Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, pictured, Republican Dede Scozzafava chose to endorse a Democrat, according to a statement published online Sunday.

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. victim of republican greed

    Right wingnuts really do not care about the local voters issues, but would endorse a carpetbagger that does not even live in the district.

    November 1, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. Missiondweller

    Not really a surprise is it? She was never a republican. The GOP must be feeling a little stupid now though.

    November 1, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  3. James

    when the GOP ship, the SS Rush Limboob is sinking, one must jump ship to survive.

    November 1, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  4. sandy

    I wonder if "campaign spokesperson Matt Burns" had any interest in restoring fiscal responsibility and common sense in Washington during the 8 years Bush was in office.

    November 1, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. Larry

    People before politics ...

    I do not know Dede other than the little I've seen from 3000 miles away, but my hat is certainly off to a woman who puts people before politics

    I certainly hope enough New Yorkers in the 23d district recognize the need to vote for the person, not the affiliation

    The Republican Party Of NO ... Think they can buy any race any where, which means that they think they can continue to buy people, buy voters !!!

    Please New York, show these political bullies that you are not for sale ... VOTE OWENS ...

    November 1, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. victim of republican greed

    If only Dick 'the reptile' Cheney would make a Hoffman endorsement. Maybe his daughter, Lizard, would weigh in on this, and ensure a moderate win.

    November 1, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  7. me

    Tsunami Sarah got it right again.....Scozzafava is a liberal dem and would have voted with Pelosi & Reed...
    Sarah's skills are wonder the left hates her and are always a step behind her 🙂

    November 1, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  8. Pete

    What a shame on her part. I was proud of her for her guts to do the right thing even when it hurt. What was done was not good but at least she garnered a mass of support in the future for her political career for staying in the party. Now she has thrown it all away.

    November 1, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  9. fella from chicago

    A liberal backing a liberal; no surprise. Hoffman wins as the Republican voters aren't fooled and vote Hoffman.

    November 1, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  10. jules sand-perkins

    Brava Diva!
    Scozzafava did the right thing to endorse the Democrat.

    November 1, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  11. R in Maine

    Way to go Dede! Stand up to those fascists!

    November 1, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  12. dustbunny

    She is now showing her true colors. Another turn coat just like specter.

    November 1, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  13. noname

    I hope Hoffman win this race and to end socialism and progressivism.

    November 1, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  14. Robert

    So, basically, Scozzafava just proved all those who doubted her true party identity right.

    November 1, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  15. Rob

    Electing Hoffman = 1 step forward and 2 steps back

    November 1, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. Proud member of "Global Zero:

    Good choice. I would hate to see another conservative get my tax dollars and do nothing but pay big business. Please everyone in District get out and vote for YOUR best interest. It is not Hoffman

    November 1, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  17. kip

    Hoffman is where the Republicans need to go. If the conservatives were as conservative as the liberals in Congress are liberals, we'd really have a two party system. Republicans tend to be far whimpier than their democrat counterparts. What scares the liberal the most is a rejuvenized conservative push to bring this country back to what the founders intended it to be – no gay marriage, no murdering of babies and dignity to the elderly.

    November 1, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  18. Roger in Atlanta

    That took courage. Hat's off to you for putting what's best for your district over these blind partisans.

    November 1, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  19. Timus

    Very courageous. It's nice to see a republican do what's right instead of playing party politics!!

    November 1, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  20. rick

    Stop Lieberman's anti-catholic agenda.

    November 1, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  21. John, Brooklyn, NY

    You go Dede!

    This is a genuinely gutsy Republican! She is willing to stand by her belief in what the Republican Party has traditionally stood for....a "big tent".

    Thanks, Dede, for standing up against the Stalin-like efforts to purge moderates from the Republican Party!

    November 1, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  22. Microcosm of the republican party

    It is now obvious what is happening to the Party of No. The extreme Right, led by Limbaugh, Beck, Palin etc. have taken over the party and afre marginalizing anyone who disagrees with their fascist philosophy. This is what is going to happen all over the country, as republicans who do not fit into this tiny wacko tent have nowhere to go. They will either vote democratic in 2010 or sit the election out. They are ensuring a Democratic victory over the next 7 years.

    November 1, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  23. MARK

    It won't do any good. In fact, it will ENERGIZE Hoffman voters.

    November 1, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  24. Barbara

    Now here is one smart, brave, independent Republican who has put her constituents first; leaving in the dust the likes of Palin, Beck, Rush and those other wingnuts who spread lies, fear, and innuendos. I wish her well. She has a bright future. Those people she represents are in very good hands!

    November 1, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  25. Mickey, NY

    Uh ohhh....Daddy Limbaugh isn't gonna like this one bit!

    November 1, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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