At her desk, with a fuzzy elephant face down on a bookshelf behind her, she recalled the exhausting end days of her campaign. Violet semicircles hung below her teary eyes as she recounted how Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and other conservative leaders excoriated her for less-than-orthodox positions on gay rights, abortion and organized labor. Her nose reddened as she recalled her abrupt exit from the special election to replace John M. McHugh, whom President Obama had appointed as secretary of the Army earlier in the year…

The next day, she tried to keep her spirits up at events, but the betrayal by Pataki, who is mulling a Senate run, stung. Around 6 p.m., she and her husband pulled over at a Stewart’s convenience store on the rainy drive home from her Watertown campaign office. An aide called with dismal poll numbers. For hours, they sat, with Scozzafava staring at the windshield wipers going back and forth. Her husband counted the people using the convenience store’s ATM to pass the time. Mostly, she just cried…

“One man who did call me was Bill Owens,” she said. “He didn’t ask for an endorsement, he just said, ‘I hope you’re doing okay.'”…

“How can Sarah Palin come out and endorse someone who can’t answer some basic questions,” Scozzafava asked. “Do these people even know who they are endorsing?”