Scozzafava Dropping Out

By Jacqueline Klingebiel

Oct 31, 2009 11:06am

Watertown Times reports that the Republican candidate in NY-23 is suspending her campaign. The news comes after a new Siena Poll out today shows Dede Scozzafava badly trailing Democrat Bill Owens and Conservative Doug Hoffman, who are locked in a dead heat. Winners: Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty and Club for Growth
Losers: Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney We'll kick this around on powerhouse roundtable tomorrow with George Will, Al Sharpton, DeeDee Myers, Ed Gillespie and Ron Brownstein.  UPDATE: My colleague, ABC News' David Chalian, has more on what this shake up means for NY-23:  The Republican nominee for Congress in the high profile upstate special House race ended her candidacy today. "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," Assemblywoman DeDe Scozzafava wrote in the Watertown Daily Times. Obviously, this will shake things up a bit. Scozzafava's name is still on the ballot, but she was bleeding support and releases all of her supporters to support other candidates.  She doesn't endorse either of her opponents in her statement. A new Siena Research Institute poll out this morning showed the battle had become a two man race with Scozzafava fading.  Democrat Owens was at 36 percent, Conservative Hoffman at 35, and Scozzafava at 20 percent. "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," wrote Scozzafava. This is clearly a huge victory for the lead conservative group bankrolling Hoffman's ads – Club for Growth.  They have been at the forefront of the push to dispel moderates from the Republican ranks and support more purely conservative candidates.  (To say nothing of the Palin victory over Gingrich in the endorsement battle.) In a preview of Democratic spin to come, DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen told reporters on Thursday that the NY-23 battle made clear to him that the "extreme" wing of the GOP was winning the "civil war" currently underway inside the Republican Party. Clearly the local GOP in NY nominated someone out of step with the national party and provided a wide opening for the Conservative Party candidate. Scozzafava's move today is likely to be a boost for Hoffman – putting this potential pick-up opportunity for Democrats farther out of reach. Vice President Biden is expected in the district on Monday to rally the Democratic troops, but watch for most of the national Democratic energy to focus on New Jersey rather intensely in these last 72 hours, as they hope to avoid going 0 for 3 on Tuesday — a result that would provide a big shot in the arm to Republicans heading into the 2010 midterm election year.

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