The return of Doug Hoffman -- as Republican spoiler?

Doug Hoffman, last November’s Conservative Party nominee in New York’s 23rd District who is vying again for the seat, is refusing to rule out running as a third-party candidate this year if he fails to win the Republican primary.

And his leading backer, Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long, told POLITICO that he refuses to endorse any candidate other than Hoffman — raising the prospect of another contest in which a fracture on the right enables Democratic Rep. Bill Owens to skate to victory…

Hoffman campaign spokesman Rob Ryan declined to say whether Hoffman would run as a third-party candidate if he failed to win the GOP nomination.