Tags: scozzfava | hoffman | gop

GOP's Scozzafava Endorses Democrat in Key N.Y. Race

Sunday, 01 Nov 2009 03:46 PM

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Republican Dede Scozzafava endorsed her former Democratic opponent Sunday in a much-watched race for an upstate New York congressional seat, sending another shock through GOP ranks after she surprisingly dropped from the race on Saturday.

Scozzafava backed Democrat Bill Owens in an announcement made in a statement sent out by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Fox News reported.

"I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same," she said. "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."

Hoffman and Owens are competing for the 23rd Congressional District seat formerly held by Republican John McHugh, who was lured away by the Obama administration to be Army secretary.

Scozzfava’s departure from the race was expected to consolidate the Republican base, but she was bitterly criticized by members of her party for being too moderate on social issues. On Saturday, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee said Saturday that Scozzafava was releasing her supporters to vote for Hoffman.

Democrats, though, were clearly banking on Scozzafava to try to tilt the balance in their favor.

White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett said on ABC's "This Week" that Democrats would "love" to have the Republican candidate back Owens.

"It's rather telling when the Republican Party forces out a moderate Republican and it says, I think, a great deal about where the Republican Party is right now," she said.

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