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NY-23: Hoffman Concedes

SARANAC LAKE, NY – Just after midnight, the sound was cut on the TVs in the Hotel Saranac ballroom and a thinning crowd walked in front of a podium. Mike Long, the chairman of the New York Conservative Party, was about to introduce Doug Hoffman. Spectators craned their necks to check local TV news, which hadn’t actually called the race yet. Doug Hoffman was really going to concede.

“No one in the world believed we would be were we are tonight, even,” said Long. “We climbed the hill and we almost got to the top of the hill.” He thanked the national conservatives like Sarah Palin and Fred Thompson who’d endorsed Hoffman, reminding volunteers that their effort got the attention of the nation.

Hoffman’s concession was short and gracious. In the hours before, his volunteers had been taking about the number of absentee ballots still outstanding, and about the possibility of an injunction to forestall a victory by Democrat Bill Owens. Hoffman congratulated Owens, multiple times, pledging to help him bring jobs to the district.

“They called us extreme!” said Hoffman. “I think we had common sense. And common sense… it isn’t so common these days!”

Hoffman quickly exited the hotel after his speech, getting a drive home from assistant Sandy Caligoire, and letting Long and other Conservative Party members stick around to flack for him. Long insisted that Dede Scozzafava, not Hoffman, became the spoiler in the race.

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