Republican Dede Scozzafava announced Saturday that she is suspending her campaign in the Nov. 3 House special election in New York, a dramatic development that increases the GOP’s chances of winning the contentious and closely-watched race.
“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,” she 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.”
On first blush, this seems like bad news for Democrat Bill Owens. While there isn’t much time left, it allows Doug Hoffman to consolidate the Republican vote.
UPDATE: Dave Weigel reports that the chairman of the Independence Party is now endorsing Owens:
I just got off the phone with Frank MacKay, state chairman of the New York Independence Party, which had endorsed Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava in the NY-23 special election. While Scozzafava has suspended her campaign, she will remain on the ballot as the candidate of the Republican and Independence Parties. MacKay can’t change that, but he told TWI that the party probably made a mistake in endorsing her over Democratic candidate Bill Owens.
“Some of our local organizations have endorsed Hoffman now that Scozzafava is out, and I want to be careful and respect their decisions,” said MacKay, who lives in downstate Suffolk County. “I don’t have a vote in the district. But if I did, I would vote for Bill Owens.” …
“If I knew how chaotic the Scozzafava campaign was going to be, I would have gone with Owens in the beginning,” said MacKay. “That certainly was a disastrous campaign.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: I was about to put up a post about Siena’s newest poll, though it seems a bit moot. I had already written it up, though, when the Dede news broke, so here you go:
Bill Owens (D): 36 (33)
Dede Scozzafava (R): 20 (29)
Doug Hoffman (C): 35 (23)
Undecided: 9 (15)
Siena’s numbers confirm R2K’s – Dede was in utter freefall.
ONE MORE UPDATE: A dispiriting tweet from Tom Jensen:
With about 200 interviews down we had Hoffman 45 Owens 26 Scozzafava 17…her withdrawal will just make it that much easier for Hoffman
Those are very different numbers from what Siena and R2K have shown, though.
“It is my hope that with my actions today, my party will emerge stronger and our district and our nation can take an important step towards restoring the enduring strength and economic prosperity that has defined us for generations,” she said.
“Most liberal candidate in the race” my ass.
STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: Charles Franklin points out that the Siena internals look bad for Owens:
Can Owens pick up from Scozzafava supporters? Not so likely given these poll results.
Owens Fav/Unfav among Scozzafava suppporters: 19/50
Hoffman Fav/Unfav among Scozzafava supporters: 15/57
Looks like a wash with many likely to skip the choice of two disliked alternatives.
And the worse news for Owens is among independents:
Ind. Fav/Unfav Owens: 39/47
Ind. Fav/Unfav Hoffman: 47/33