November 1st, 2009
04:51 PM ET
12 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. John K.

    Go Doug Hoffman! Yes to victory on Tuesday!

    November 1, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  2. deshard

    Dede Scozzvava gets it. The right-wing, ultra-conservative wing of the GOP controls the party to its detriment now. They've made it abundantly clear that there's no room whatsoever in the GOP for anyone who doesn't toe the line, line for line with the ultra-conservatives.

    This maniacal desire for party purity is going to be the nail in the coffin for the GOP on a national level in terms of relevance, electability and whether or not the GOP will simply go the way of the Whigs.

    November 1, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  3. RSR

    How much money did Obama skim from the Stimulas Package and direct into the DNC's till??? How much of that money did the DNC use to 'buy-off' Scozzafava???

    November 1, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  4. Johnny DC

    Wow. What a ridiculously sour, sour woman. It's women like this one that set back women in politics decades.

    November 1, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  5. tess

    well i hope she doesn't plan to ever run as a "republican" again! this only goes to show why people are supporting hoffman – he is the true conservative and republican and can be trusted to vote for our interest! go hoffman – go away scuzzy!!!

    November 1, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  6. betty

    What is it with the member of GOP party. Matt Burns is only supporting Mr Hoffman because he wants to deny Nancy Pelosi another foot soldier. The resposibility of the Republican Party is to committ themselves to serving there people in there districts by putting there interest first. The Gop needs to grow up, times have changed change with it. Stop this brickering between parties start doing what they were elected for. It is amazing what can happened between people including the government electives and what they can accomplish.

    November 1, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  7. UpChuck.Liberals

    IF, and this is a really BIG 'IF' the RNC had any brains they'd drop kick all these Leftist RINO's out on their collective asses. Not gonna happen because the RNC is clueless.

    November 1, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  8. David

    Thank god she's gone. I would support Owens before I supported her and I'm a Conservitive. She has a more Liberal voting record than Owens and she's a GOPer? Please! Giving Pelosi another foot soldier in her effort to reshape America in her immage would be a huge mistake. GO HOFFMAN!!!!!!

    New Jersey! Isn't it time for change you can believe in? What exactly has the Liberal agenda done for New Jersey? I can't even afford to drive through the State let alone live there. Please, do the rest of America a favor and elect somebody other than a greedy Goldman Sachs CEO as Gov. Please. Do you really believe the Billionaire has any clue how the common American citizens live in New Jersey?

    How do Americans in any State pull the lever for Liberals? California, Maryland to the Northern tip of Maine?


    November 1, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  9. Clark

    just adds proof that she didn't deserve a republican nomination in the first place since even she is more comfortable with the democratic platform than the republican platform ....

    and is further proof that politicians run in the party that they feel gives them the best opportunity to have power and prestige and has nothing to do with what they believe in ....

    and it points out that the current republican party leadership are simply rinos and not conservatives since they gave their full endorsement to her in the first place ....

    November 1, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  10. kimberly

    Good for her. She sees taht the right wingnuts in that party are just a disaster for the country andwould take it RIGHT back to the bush policies, and this country has said it does NOT want that, and that this country is a middle left country, and no longer the right leaning it was, you know like in the slave days, woman making half what men made, and women not being able to vote days. Sorry GOP, your train has LEFT the station...

    November 1, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  11. Gentwelve

    Conseravtisim is the equal of the Confederacy of the Civil War, anger, hate, anything negative and destructive is their motto. You had better agree or we'll come after you.

    The true destiny of America will be the battle between Liberals and Moderates, the latter of which I support.

    Going Rogue, Dittoheads, Birther, etc.... good bye!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 1, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  12. Liam Callahan

    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.”

    November 1, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  13. Economist

    Well, Hoffman isn't even from the district. For republicans voting for a democrat is not optimal, but it's better than electing someone who will not actually represent them.

    November 1, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  14. Barbara -

    so she's not "conservative" enough.... Smart enough I'd say... and to the good old boys – I think she got you on this one... how do you like them apples. Go Owens!

    November 1, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  15. Liam

    "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.”"

    Since when have Republicans exercised fiscal responsibility in Washington? If I'm not mistaken, Republicans had control of the house and senate up until 2006. Outrageous spending on Iraq and Afghanistan all happened under a Republican Congress and president. We are in a recession brought about by Republican deregulation and the only way out is to spend money. Some say we can't spend money because the national debt is so high, but please keep in mind that it is so high because of the former Republican administration and the former Republican congress.

    November 1, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  16. josie

    Why wouldn't Scozzafava endorse the Democrat? Policy-wise, she is one, but except that for some odd reason she preferred to have a R after her name. Fake, Phony, Fraud describes Scozzafava perfectly. She's just like Obama.

    November 1, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  17. Rick

    Dede Scozzafava's endorsement of Bill Owens shows that many of us in the Republican party are sick of these religious conservative wackos who have hijacked the GOP – once the Grand Old Party. There are three parties in this country – Democrats, Republicans and the extremists who call themselves Republicans, but embarass the party more than they do good. Hooray for Dede who had the courage to let these wackos know that they are despised by main stream Republicans.

    November 1, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  18. Only 20% of Americans trust republicans to lead them into the 21st century!

    That is too bad.

    Now, if her supporters vote for Owens, then the Dems win a seat that has been solidly red for over 100 years.

    And that will have to get the neo-cons attention(Altho, they are pretty stupid).

    Better Hoffman should win and then the neo-cons would think they had the magic recipe for winning in 2012 by running the "christian" Twitter twit for national office, because they would overlook the fact the district has been red for over 100 years and running a neo-Nazi conservative was the only reason Hoffman won!

    November 1, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  19. Hello, Dede!

    And now - Dede Scozzafava - PLEASE put your actions where your mouth is - do an Arlen Specter - switch parties - from Republican to Democrat. We conservatives would REALLY apreciate that and woule LOVE to see you leave. REALLY!!!!!!!!!!

    November 1, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  20. CNN do your job right

    People like her are the ones that ruined the country. Self proclaimed Republicans who supported the biggest government in the history of the US under Bush. We need people who not only campaign small government, but DO make the government small like Sarah did.

    November 1, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  21. brian

    Wow it's a shame she was forced, more or less, to step down. Guees that shows you were the Republican party is headed, down the tubes.

    November 1, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  22. Obamalism

    What did you expect...clearly a rhino and clearly too liberal to endorse a conservative.

    Make no mistake, there is very little to call 'moderate' about her. America has had enough of the push from the super liberals running DC and they were given a choice between rhino, dem and conservative...guess who's going to win and win big????

    November 1, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  23. Billy-Bob-Joe-Darrel-Darryl-12 pak-Capt. James T. Kirk in a pink tutu

    As usual, she sees integrity in the Dems, but not in the surprise there!

    November 1, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  24. Connie

    I am very happy she quit. Newt deserves a kick in the butt from the Conservatives for supporting her. Now he got one from her by her supporting the Democrat candidate. Go for Mr Owen, I pray you win!

    A very Conservative voter!!

    November 1, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  25. Mike

    "Is this reverse Psychology? Not sure what the heck is going on, but I like it!!!

    November 1, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
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