GOP candidate Scozzafava drops out of NY-23 race

The Republican Party's nominee in a special election bows out in favor of a third-party candidate

Published October 31, 2009 10:15PM (EDT)

Score one for the tea partiers. Conservative activists unhappy that Dede Scozzafava, a moderate, was the Republican Party's choice to run in a special election to fill a congressional seat in upstate New York won a major victory on Saturday. Scozzafava has announced that she's dropping out of the race, leaving third-party conservative candidate Doug Hoffman as the Republican choice.

"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," Scozzafava said in a statement.

"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 nd our district and our nation can take an important step towards restoring the enduring strength and economic prosperity that has defined us for generations."

The Republican establishment -- or at least those parts of it that hadn't already been backing Hoffman -- has now officially thrown its support behind the third-party choice. It's hard to predict anything in a special election like this one, but given the makeup of the district, it appears Hoffman is now headed for victory.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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