Now, Scozzafava Backs Owens

ALBANY—Dede Scozzafava, a Republican assemblywoman who yesterday withdrew from the race to replace John McHugh in Congress, has thrown her support to Bill Owens, the Democratic Party’s candidate.

“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.  This is not a decision that I have made lightly,” Scozzafava said in a statement. “You know me, and throughout my career, I have been always been an independent voice for the people I represent. I have stood for our honest principles, and a truthful discussion of the issues, even when it cost me personally and politically.   Since beginning my campaign, I have told you that this election is not about me; it’s about the people of this District. It is in this spirit that I am writing to let you know I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same.”

“It’s not in the cards for me to be your representative, but I strongly believe Bill is the only candidate who can build upon John McHugh’s lasting legacy in the U.S. Congress. John and I worked together on the expansion of Fort Drum and I know how important that base is to the economy of this region,” Scozzafava continued. “I am confident that Bill will be able to provide the leadership and continuity of support to Drum Country just as John did during his tenure in Congress.”

Late last night, Scozzafava’s husband Ron McDougall endorsed Owens. A source familiar with the campaign told me that Scozzafava met in the afternoon with Representative Steve Israel, the national recruiter for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and he and other labor officials convinced Scozzafava to back Owens. When Scozzafava announced she was suspending her campaign, Owens issued a statement praising her.

This is a blow to Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party’s nominee who is now being officially embraced by Republican apparatchiks local and national. Hoffman’s campaign repeatedly attacked Scozzafava as a “liberal.”

Here’s Scozzafava’s full statement:

 

I want to thank you for your support and friendship. Over the past 24 hours, I have had encouraging words sent to my family and me.  Many of you have asked me whom you should support on Tuesday.

 

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.  This is not a decision that I have made lightly.

 

You know me, and throughout my career, I have been always been an independent voice for the people I represent. I have stood for our honest principles, and a truthful discussion of the issues, even when it cost me personally and politically.   Since beginning my campaign, I have told you that this election is not about me; it’s about the people of this District.

 

It is in this spirit that I am writing to let you know I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same. 

 

It’s not in the cards for me to be your representative, but I strongly believe Bill is the only candidate who can build upon John McHugh’s lasting legacy in the U.S. Congress. John and I worked together on the expansion of Fort Drum and I know how important that base is to the economy of this region.  I am confident that Bill will be able to provide the leadership and continuity of support to Drum Country just as John did during his tenure in Congress.

 

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.    

 

Please join me in voting for Bill Owens on Tuesday. To address the tough challenges ahead, we must rise above partisanship and politics and work together.  There’s too much at stake in this election to do otherwise.

 

 

Dede