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WASHINGTON — William L. Owens may be the presumed front runner in the contest for the 23rd Congressional District, but Douglas L. Hoffman was the favorite last week among outside groups supporting the candidates.


Independent groups spent $178,028 last week on advertisements and other efforts in support of Mr. Hoffman, the Conservative candidate, compared to $147,545 on behalf of Mr. Owens, the Democrat.


Dierdre K. Scozzafava, the Republican candidate, reported no independent expenditures in support of her candidacy, although the National Republican Congressional Committee, which supports her, spent $48,755 on ads attacking Mr. Owens.


The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $65,762 attacking Ms. Scozzafava.

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