ALBANY—It’s over for Dede Scozzafava.
The Republican assemblywoman from Gouverneur issued a statement formally suspending her campaign for Congress after a poll showed her supported by just 20 percent of voters. Scozzafava said “victory is unlikely.”
She did not offer an endorsement, to either Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party’s candidate or Bill Owens, the Democratic Party’s nominee; it’s unclear what will happen to the unions and others who have endorsed her, and her name will still appear on the ballot. She said in her statement that she offered these people her “sincerest thanks.” Prominent Democrats have been rallying to Owens and more and more Republicans are now backing Hoffman, leaving Scozzafava stranded. Sources said she made the decision to end her campaign Friday evening when considering the new poll numbers–the campaign was too cash-strapped to fund internal surveys, and the numbers came as a sobering surprise.
“In recent days, polls have indicated that my chances of winning this election are not as strong as we would like them to be,” Scozzafava said. “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.”
Hoffman said in a statement that “this morning’s events prove what we have said for the last week; this campaign is a horserace between me and Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked candidate, Bill Owens.” Given the negative picture of Scozzafava Hoffman has painted, her endorsement of him would likely be more hurt than help.
Here’s Scozzafava’s statement:
Dear Friends and Supporters:
Throughout the course of my campaign for Congress, I have made the people of the 23rd District and the issues that affect them the focal point of my campaign. As a life long resident of this District, I care deeply and passionately about its people and our way of life. Whether as a candidate for Congress, a State Assemblywoman or a small town Mayor, I have always sought to act with the best interest of our District and its residents in mind-and today I again seek to act for the good of our community.
The opportunity to run as the Republican and Independence Party candidate to represent the 23rd District has been and remains one of the greatest honors of my life. During the past several months, as I’ve traveled the district, meeting and talking with voters about the issues that matter most to them, I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve received as I sought to serve as their voice in Washington. However, as Winston Churchill once said, Democracy can be a fickle employer, and the road to public office is not always a smooth one.
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.
On Election Day my name will appear on the ballot, but victory is unlikely. To those who support me – and to those who choose not to – I offer my sincerest thanks.