NY-23: GOP Candidate Drops Out

October 31, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Dede Scozzafava, the Republican candidate in the NY-23 special election, has suspended her campaign with a tearful, regretful statement delivered at her headquarters in Watertown, N.Y. Scozzafava’s move clears a path for unlikely Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman to beat Democratic candidate Bill Owens, who had, until now, been benefiting from the conservative infighting over the seat. All of this represents a massive victory for the restive conservative movement.

“We’re a little shell-shocked,” said Eric Odom, a conservative blogger and Tea Party organizer, who’d been an early Hoffman backer. “It’s not what we expected.”

Odom was one of the first to hear the news. The Hoffman campaign made the call to Ali Akbar, one of the conservative bloggers rooming in Lake Placid with Odom. The bloggers hustled to get Internet connections to spread the news, then regrouped to head to Scozzafava’s Watertown headquarters, based on rumors that the GOP candidate might be about to endorse Hoffman.

In her statement, Scozzafava — who had also won the important Independence Party ballot line — cited money woes for her decision, and declined to endorse either of her rivals.

In recent days, polls have indicated that my chances of winning this election are not as strong as we would like them to be. 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. But as I’ve said from the start of this campaign, this election is not about me, it’s about the people of this district. And, as always, today I will do what I believe serves their interests best.

It is increasingly clear that pressure is mounting on many of my supporters to shift their support. Consequently, I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so. I am and have always been a proud Republican. It is my hope that with my actions today, my party will emerge stronger and our district and our nation can take an important step towards restoring the enduring strength and economic prosperity that has defined us for generations.