In last year’s special election race in New York’s 23rd Congressional district, Doug Hoffman became a hero to fiscal conservatives, displacing DeDe Scozzafava and nearly winning the race in his outsider bid. This year, Hoffman again ran on the Conservative Party line despite the Republican candidacy of Matt Doheny, and conservatives fretted over the split vote on the Right. Hoffman today announced that he will withdraw rather than allow that to happen:
Doug Hoffman said, “I entered the 23rd Congressional District race for the good of our nation and to represent the common sense beliefs and values of the voters of upstate New York. Our nation is at a crossroads and it is imperative that on Election Day we wrest control of Congress from Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat majority.
“It was never my intention to split the Republican vote in the 23rd District. So today, I withdraw as a candidate from this race. Under New York State Election Law my name cannot be removed from the Conservative Party line on the ballot. However, I strongly urge and request that my supporters not vote for me and certainly not vote for the Democrat or Working Families Party candidate.
“Matt Doheny and I may have differed on some issues during the course of our primary race. Now, we must put those differences aside and do what is best for our nation. So today, I am asking all my supporters to cast their vote for Matt Doheny on Election Day, November 2nd.
“I want to offer heartfelt thanks to Chairman Mike Long and the New York State Conservative Party, to my staff, volunteers and supporters who all worked tirelessly on my campaign. I’d also like to thank everyone who offered me hospitality, warmth and encouragement as I crisscrossed the Congressional District, your generosity of spirit and your belief in our nation was always an inspiration and shall never be forgotten.”
The split on the Right last November allowed Bill Owens to win the race — the first Democrat in decades to represent the district. Scozzafava withdrew in that race, but refused to endorse Hoffman. Instead, she played footsie with Owens and made clear her distaste for Hoffman in the vital last few days.
Hoffman, who didn’t get the Republican endorsement in either race, has proven himself much more of a team player and class act. Instead of focusing on his own ambitions, he has focused on the vital needs of his district and country as a whole. That shows a remarkable level of class, and hopefully will pay off in a Republican victory in this winnable district.