NY-23: Scozzafava Backs Owens

Breaking now:

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.

Well, I take back what I said about “reading between the lines” of Scozzafava’s statement yesterday. It’s good to see her doing the right thing here, and I’m sure it will only enrage the teabaggers further. (“See! She wasn’t a real Republican, just like we said!”) Quite a few other folks are also switching to Owens, among them the  New York State United Teachers union, which had previously spent about $50K on Dede’s behalf (see below). Several other unions are following suit, including the AFL-CIO and a local branch of the United Auto Workers. And Scozzafava’s husband, Ron McDougall – himself a union official – also endorsed the Democrat:

“This has been a difficult day for my family. But the needs and concerns of the men and women of the 23rd Congressional District remain paramount,” McDougall said. “As such, I wholeheartedly and without reservation endorse the candidacy of Bill Owens.”

“As a life-long labor activist, I know that Bill Owens understands the issues important to working people. On the other hand, Doug Hoffman has little regard for the interests of workers.”

“Hoffman’s opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, coupled with his support for the failed policies of the Bush Administration make him a poor choice to serve the citizens of the 23rd Congressional District.”

Similarly, the Watertown Daily Times had no problem enthusiastically backing Owens (they had previously given their nod to Dede):

Of the two, Bill Owens is by far the superior and only choice.

The Democratic candidate has demonstrated a willingness to listen to people about ways in which he could help the district as their representative in Washington. Mr. Owens has remained focused on the economy and job creation throughout his campaign. At the same time, he has shown an understanding of the military, a keen desire to help dairy farmers, an ability to work with labor unions and an eagerness to learn more about the vast, 11-county district that he hopes to represent.

Also, below is a chart summarizing all independent expenditures in the NY-23 race from Sept. 23rd (the first time outside groups spent money here) through Oct. 31st:

Organization Party Total Spent
DCCC D $1,102,039
SEIU D $334,312
AFSCME D $199,850
TOTAL Democratic $1,636,201
NRCC R $897,404
TOTAL Republican $945,654
Club for Growth C $645,285
Susan B. Anthony List C $78,700
National Republican Trust C $83,173
National Organization for Marriage C $49,099
Campaign for Working Families C $25,000
Gun Owners of America C $8,490
Eagle Forum C $4,996
Family Research Council C $1,978
TOTAL Conservative $896,721

As noted above, the NYSUT (the union behind VOTE/COPE) just switched over to Owens from Scozzafava.

90 thoughts on “NY-23: Scozzafava Backs Owens”

  1. how much difference this will make at the last minute. I think this is the most volatile race I can remember.  

  2. I thought that not only was Scozzafava’s dropout going to let Hoffman win, it was also going to lead to a crushing Corzine defeat as well. And the passage of Prop 1 in Maine for good measure.

  3. … we are in bad shape.  

    “Republican nominee drops out of race, endorses Democrat, to defeat whackjob.”  This is an absurdly easy message to sell.

    I also hope that Menendez is keeping up regular tabs on Crist.

  4. no matter what, it’s the first time that the Republicans lose this part of New York in 150 years.

    Anybody know of any media events on Monday between the two remaining candidates?

  5. Was Scozzafava running much of an absentee ballot drive? What about the unions that backed her? That could be a big problem if a lot of her supporters voted early.

  6. seeing your name on the ballot and voting for someone else. Oooh Dede

    Hoffman stock on intrade just plumeted. Kind of like Eric Sundwall endorsing Murphy.

  7. I finally read something that makes me willing to give Owens the benefit of the doubt and want him to win and now THIS clusterfuck happens.  Politics is wonderful, isn’t it?

  8. I was tempted in my last post in the previous Scozzafava thread that she still had time to make an endorsement and could very well endorse Owens since her husband did, but then I backtracked and decided that she’d pull a Hagel and not publicly endorse but have her spouse do so. Let me just say that I’m thrilled to have been wrong. I also feel vindicated for having supported her at the beginning, some of her economic stances notwithstanding. No matter who wins, this race has been an awesome case study for the future of the Republican Party.

    Having said that, go Owens!!

  9. http://www.politico.com/blogs/

    or was it Rahm – or even President Obama?

    Scozzafava’s decision comes one day after she abruptly suspended her campaign — and since then, the White House had been persuading her to come out in support of Owens.  In addition, New York Democratic sources tell POLITICO that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and state party chairwoman June O’Neill — who she has a close relationship with — also played a role in convincing Scozzafava to endorse Owens.

  10. with the limited time left should pick just one issue and drum it home.

    Hoffman’s anti-earmarks attitude, and earmarks WRT Fort Drum should be that issue, since that can be boiled down to one slightly simplified slogan:

    Save Fort Drum, vote for Owens.

    Probably most of Dede’s previous supporters could agree with that.

    Plus, that could be accompanied by the visual of supporters beating on drums. Biden could even pick up on that too during his visit tomorrow.

    Of course, the message that Dede has dropped out and is now fully supporting Owens is essential to get out as well.

  11. As I mentioned in a comment in the previous NY-23 thread, early voting (which I would expect to lean toward committed supporters) probably had disproportionately fewer Scozzafava supporters.  Wingnuts gravitate to Hoffman, and committed Democrats and committed non-affiliated-but-voting-D have gone to Owens.  But with the last week or two having Scozz’s poll numbers in free-fall, if I were a Scozz supporter I’d have thought “wait, I’m not sending that ballot in yet”.

  12. they’re gonna miss that $900K next November.

    NRCC campaign spending practices make the Bush admin spending spree seem mild.

    Then again, didn’t the RNC spend $1M on their craptacular website? I wonder what kind of financial shape they’d be in if they didn’t pay off their buddies so generously with campaign funds

  13. “Republican nominee drops out of race, endorses Democrat, to defeat whackjob.” should be changed to:

    “Republican nominee drops out of race, endorses Democrat, to defeat whackjob who doesn’t know jack about the district.”

  14. I’m under the impression that it is hard to sell a message 2 days from the election. Though please explain why I’m wrong.

  15. my bet is that it won’t mean a lot. You either need to keep spreading the news of the changes and endorsement, or bring someone more prominent in.

    Television news on Sunday is not exactly a reliable thing to lean on. But if they can keep that momentum going tomorrow, and maybe make it obvious that Owens is a freaking moderate and Hoffman is a far-right nutjob…

  16. Only absentee or military/overseas ballots (which are just another flavor of absentee). There’s no early voting or permanent absentee voting in NY.

  17. It’s relatively easy to deal with. If someone turns in an early ballot, they get a special receipt. If they decide they want to change their vote, they can vote at the polls on election day. They show up at their polling place, turn in their receipt (thus invalidating their prior ballot), and cast a vote normally.

    A slight administrative hassle, but I can’t imagine too many people seizing an opportunity like this.

  18. I like Joe and all. But i’m not seeing him as a difference maker to motivate voters and win elections until it actually happens.

    You won’t get red banner links “Biden campaigning for Owens” like you would for a certain more prominent Democrat in New Jersey right now. And on checking, Gillibrand has come up big for Owens. By endorsing him on the Friday before the election. I’m sure Schumer has done more than that.

    and Scozzafava has to be at the Biden event for this to mean anything substantial. The voters up for grabs are Scozzafava voters, after all, and it’d be an error to not open the door wide for those Republicans to vote for the Democrat instead of staying home and electing Hoffman.

  19. if all early votes are on paper. But I think that in lots of places they just open up the machines early.

    In any case, it’s a small concern.

  20. But I’m not really sure how much infrastructure they have, especially in the North Country. The most important things right now are:

    a) union mobilization, especially by those which had been backing Dede

    b) spreading word of Dede’s endorsement (would she even campaign with Owens?)

    c) getting a lot of attention via Joe Biden’s visit tomorrow

  21. endorsed Hoffman? I can imagine that there are some pissed off Republicans in the NY state establishment who wouldn’t mind supporting Owens.  

  22. This race had moved to the top of all the local TV and print coverage during the past week — the Biden trip and the Scozzafaza endorsement are going to be the lead stories on all the local news outlets today and tomorrow.  Between the news and the ads, we’re swimming in info about the race up here.

    It is the local coverage that makes a difference — Vice-Presidents don’t come to Watertown very often (or ever!)

    Remember this is a special election (although there are a number of county nd town offices on the ballot across the district, but they won’t be bringing out the voters en masse) – so the folks who vote are likely to be relatively well informed and aware, so this kind of news is something they’ll be paying attention to.

    Bottom line, the narrative on this race in terms of public perception has changed in 2 days — from “outside Hoffman shaking up the race and sending a message to DC” to “Democrats and Republicans unite to defeat dangerous wingnut candidate.”

    It is going to be close, but all the momentum that Hoffman was seen as having at the end of last week has come to a screeching halt and Owens is suddenly the one with major momentum….

  23. but yeah.. it’d be nice if he found some reason to show up there. I can see why he hasn’t.

    At least this election verified the obvious.. that if you’re a Republican candidate who isn’t pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-tax, you’re either unaware of your party or you’re a glutton for punishment.

    But this Republican civil war does mean that I can look at Meghan McCain’s twitter and be entertained at her futile pushback on behalf of the sane wing of the Republican party.

  24. that its looking like Dede is angling for a job in the Cuomo administration, having recognized that her career as a Republican is over. I think your cite makes my hypothesis look plausible.  

  25. As soon as I feel comfortable enough to want Owens to win, Scozzofava drops out and Hoffman looks really strong.

  26. I changed my sig to link to Bill Owens’s actblue page (instead of just making fun of Posey).

    Unfortunately, I don’t think I know anyone from NY-23.

  27. As noted in one of the many news articles about this entire situation, some local Republican parties are (somewhat reluctantly) endorsing Hoffman because the national party is, which means that there’s still some party loyalty around.

    If the Republican Party of New York were to endorse Owens, that would basically be all-out national-scale civil war within the Republican Party.

  28. if Hoffman wins, they get a Republican (Hoffman is a registered Republican not a registered Conservative) and they can see how that develops.

    If Owens wins, they can try again with someone without a voting record in 2010.

    it’s going to be a low turnout election with a lot of Scozzafava fans staying home or skipping the race. I’m not sure how much else is going on in the 23rd down-ballot to draw random voters to the booth.

    Doesn’t NY still have machine ballots with columns? idk if they have a straight ticket too

  29. NY GOP committee people will be hiding under their desks for the next 2½ days just wishing this would all go away and be over.

    What a fiasco for them.

  30. and run for re-election to her Assembly seat as a Dem? She certainly can’t survive a Repub primary now.

    But if she’s friends with Cuomo, that could certainly be good option for her: getting an appointment in his upcoming administration.

  31. If she decided to join the Democratic caucus, she would have no problem being re-elected as a Democrat. Her district is not a Republican stronghold by any stretch of the imagination — she would be unbeatable if she decided to run as a Democrat.

  32. They think that it is a R+12 district. And they also claim that Republicans haven’t controlled this area for the last 150 years because Democrats have controlled NY-23 in the past (they forgot that redistricting occurs and that NY-23 hasn’t represented the same area as it does now in the past).

  33. So they believe that NY-23 is more Republican than Sue Myrick’s district? No wonder they were going rabid over Scozzafava.

  34. the guy claims he got the R+12 number from right here at our own Swing State Project. Granted he admits he misread a thing about redistricting NY (although I would think the title: A Long Overdue Look at Redistricting New York would be a give away)

  35. That “libertymt” conservative is getting raked over the coals for trying to talk some sense to the other RedStaters.  Tsk, tsk.

  36. The party Chairman gave Owens his personal endorsement, but he made clear that it wasn’t a party endorsement.  He said some of the local chapters of his party already had endorsed Hoffman, and he didn’t want to ruffle feathers within his party by giving a party endorsement.

  37. I try to on the CA-Sen race all the time though. They seem to think that just because THEY like Chuck Devore that he, with his mighty $145,000 war-chest, can beat Barbara Boxer. They talk about a “big-tent” and how we should allow it. Sure, they aren’t calling for MArk Kirk, Mike Castle, and Susan Collins to be primaried, but when they think that Chuck Devore can beat Barbara Boxer AFTER a primary with Carly Fiorina, I can’t help but laugh.  

  38. She had the NRA endorsement (prior to dropping out).

    In the north country, all politicians are “pro-gun” — NY 23 is a district full of hunters and, like most rural districts, anyone who wants to get elected here needs to be clearly in favour of gun rights.

  39. 3 days  before the election is too late to be removed from the ballot — she still shows up as the nominee of both the Republican Party and the Independence Party.

  40. They’re trying to send a message that he would be good for the military installations in the 23rd

    But there is no question that Scozzafaza’s endorsement will make a huge difference in St Lawrence County — it is a swing part of the district and the message that Owens is the only one who can protect spending on Ft Drum, the seaway, prisons, etc is a very practical message for the 23rd.

  41. At least that’s the way it seemed from the debate snippets I heard – and issue positions listed.

    Strategy and tactics were certainly a disaster – which suggests that the offer – if it stuck – would come with strings such as a DCCC staffed campaign.  

  42. A quick look at intrade shows no such plummet for Hoffman.  What are you talking about?  Unless you mean a drop from 68% to 67%, but I’d hardly call that a “plummet”.

  43. I read that completely wrong.  Intrade’s damn confusing, because they have a picture of Hoffman, so I thought they’d go with the chances of HIM winning.  Now I see the percentage is of any OTHER candidate winning.

    Argh.  Why does Intrade have to make it so confusing?

  44. Hoyer needs to say Owens would be able to get a seat on Armed Services for the MAJORITY party.  (Could he?  Or is this because McHugh’s spot opened up on Armed Services?)

  45. and Republicans are now short a seat there, it would go to the new Rep, or someone else in our party

  46. “Other” is in the context of their other two NY-23 derivatives: “Chance of Dem winning” and “Chance of Repub” winning.

  47. Hopefully all those undecided Dede supporters will get really pissed at how she was treated and throw protest votes to Owens.

  48. Based on crosstabs – Q5.

    As you may have heard, yesterday Republican Dede Scozzafava suspended her campaign for Congress, although by law her name will remain on the ballot. Scozzafava said she released those individuals supporting her campaign to transfer their support as they see fit.

    The endorsement was first published at about 2:30 pm eastern time, so the word would take a few hours to get out on a Sunday.

    I’m wild guessing that just over 1/2 of Scozzafava/Undecided supporters will break towards Owens, 1/4 will still vote for her, 1/4 will vote for Hoffman.

    My new prediction

    Owens      49%

    Hoffman    46%

    Scozzafava 5%

  49. And there are more Dems and indies undecided than Republicans. If those Repubs are pissed Scozzafava people than Owens can pinch it.

  50. Of the 18% undecided, 14% are conservative, 9% are moderate and, wait for it, liberals are…24 percent! Nailbitter.

  51. The cross-tabs in there add up differently – so I normalized, taking each category as a proportion of the total. (Don’t know if I screwed up the calculations.)

    Among undecideds:

    51% liberal

    19% moderate

    30% conservative (29.7%)

    Among Scozzafava supporters:

    26% liberal

    42% moderate

    32% conservative (31.5%)

    Scozz/undecided together:

    44% liberal

    26% moderate

    30% conservative (30.3%)

  52. Whats the fucking point of running for office if you dont have any issue positions?  Oh the political system, the electorate is insanely smart at times and at others, well no need to go there…..

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