In NY-23 Bombshell, Republican Scozzafava Endorses Democrat Owens

In a huge development in the NY-23 special election, moderate Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava — who dropped out of the race yesterday, in the face of bad fundraising and polling numbers that had shown she’d lost GOP support to Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman — has now endorsed Democrat Bill Owens.

Scozzafava’s campaign had been undermined by national right-wing activists who denounced her liberal social views — she is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage — and now she’s doing what she can to prevent their own candidate Hoffman from winning:

You know me, and throughout my career, I have been always been an independent voice for the people I represent. I have stood for our honest principles, and a truthful discussion of the issues, even when it cost me personally and politically. Since beginning my campaign, I have told you that this election is not about me; it’s about the people of this District.

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.

Scozzafava’s name remains on the ballot as the Republican candidate, but she’ll be voting for the Democrat Owens. Scozzafava’s full statement is available after the jump.

Late Update: Scozzafava’s former campaign spokesman Matt Burns gives us this comment, breaking with his former boss: “Dede is entitled to her own opinion, as is everyone, but I obviously disagree with her decision (to support Owens). I am supporting Doug Hoffman, because denying Nancy Pelosi another foot soldier is vital to restoring fiscal responsibility and common sense in Washington.”

Late Late Update: We asked NRCC spokesman Ken Spain for comment, and he simply pointed us to this statement from earlier today, which was released in order to promise a seat on the House Armed Services Committee for Hoffman if he is elected: “There are only two candidates that remain in this race and voters are interested in two things. The candidate best positioned and suited to protect Fort Drum and continue the legacy of John McHugh is Doug Hoffman as the Republican leadership pledged to secure support for him on the House Armed Services Committee earlier today. Secondly, only Doug Hoffman is willing to stand up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and put the brakes on her agenda of massive government takeovers and less jobs.”

Scozzafava released the following statement at 2 :06 p.m.:

I want to thank you for your support and friendship. Over the past 24 hours, I have had encouraging words sent to my family and me. Many of you have asked me whom you should support on Tuesday.

Since announcing the suspension of my campaign, I have thought long and hard about what is best for the people of this District, and how to answer your questions. This is not a decision that I have made lightly.

You know me, and throughout my career, I have been always been an independent voice for the people I represent. I have stood for our honest principles, and a truthful discussion of the issues, even when it cost me personally and politically. Since beginning my campaign, I have told you that this election is not about me; it’s about the people of this District.

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.

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