Hoffman retracts concession, says ACORN stole election

The conservative candidate worries about "scheming behind closed doors"

Published November 19, 2009 3:37PM (EST)

The fervor in conservative ranks for an unknown candidate running in a special Congressional election in upstate New York was never really about Doug Hoffman the man, at least not as much as it was about Doug Hoffman, expression of the right's id. Who he actually was, what he actually believed and whether he had any real political skills, these were secondary questions at best, after what really mattered: He was more conservative than Dede Scozzafava, the official Republican candidate.

Hoffman and his supporters did succeed in pushing Scozzafava out of the race just days before the election was held, but on Election Day, it all seemed to be for naught, as Hoffman lost to Democrat Bill Owens.

But since then, it's become clear that vote totals in some parts of the district weren't reported accurately the night of the election, and Owens' margin of victory shrunk as a result. So now, after having been pressed by Glenn Beck, Hoffman has another chance to be that raw expression of conservative id.

In a message to supporters released Wednesday night, Hoffman officially withdrew his concession, saying he'd now work to stop the election from being stolen by a collection of nefarious figures.

An excerpt:

As evidence surfaces, we find out that reported results from election night were far from accurate. ACORN and the unions did their best to try and sway the results to Obamacare supporter Bill Owens.

I was forced to concede after receiving two pieces of grim news - - down 5,335 votes with 93 percent of the vote counted on election night - and barely won my stronghold in Oswego County. On Election Night, the information we received was far different from what we received this week!

Rest assured, they will not succeed, and I am therefore revoking my statement of concession.

That is why I am writing you today. Recent developments leave me to wonder who is scheming behind closed doors, twisting arms and stealing elections from the voters of NY-23.

I'm sure you are as dismayed as I am to learn of the mischief that took place in Oswego and neighboring counties. We know this would not be the first time for the ACORN faithful to tamper with democracy.

This is fanciful, to put it mildly. First of all, despite the corrected vote totals, it appears clear that Hoffman can't win, even after all absentee ballots have been tallied. And the accusation that ACORN is somehow behind the vote counting -- that it is working behind the scenes at election boards is just ludicrous.

The impulse on the right to see ACORN as responsible for every evil in the world has now apparently gone so far that this accusation doesn't even relate to the one usually leveled at the group, that it's working to register non-existent voters in order to cast fraudulent votes in favor of Democrats. (That accusation, too, is false.) Beyond that, there's this simple thing to remember about ACORN: It works in urban areas. The district in which Hoffman ran is decidedly not ACORN territory.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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