Dede Scozzafava, the Republican and Independence parties candidate in the 23rd Congressional District, is suspending her campaign and releasing her supporters.
The state Assemblywoman has not backed either of her two opponents in the race, Doug Hoffman or Bill Owens.
Here's her statement in full:
"Dear friends and supporters:
"Throughout the course of my campaign for Congress, I have made the people of the 23rd District and the issues that affect them the focal point of my campaign. As a life long resident of this district, I care deeply and passionately about its people and our way of life. Whether as a candidate for Congress, a state Assemblywoman or a small town mayor, I have always sought to act with the best interest of our district and its residents in mind—and today I again seek to act for the good of our community.
"The opportunity to run as the Republican and Independence Party candidate to represent the 23rd District has been and remains one of the greatest honors of my life. During the past several months, as I've traveled the district, meeting and talking with voters about the issues that matter most to them, I've been overwhelmed by the amount of support I've received as I sought to serve as their voice in Washington. However, as Winston Churchill once said, Democracy can be a fickle employer, and the road to public office is not always a smooth one.
"In recent days, polls have indicated that my chances of winning this election are not as strong as we would like them to be. The reality that I've come to accept is that in today's political arena, you must be able to back up your message with money—and as I've been outspent on both sides, I've been unable to effectively address many of the charges that have been made about my record. But as I've said from the start of this campaign, this election is not about me, it's about the people of this district. And, as always, today I will do what I believe serves their interests best.
"It is increasingly clear that pressure is mounting on many of my supporters to shift their support. Consequently, I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so. I am and have always been a proud Republican. It is my hope that with my actions today, my party will emerge stronger and our district and our nation can take an important step towards restoring the enduring strength and economic prosperity that has defined us for generations.
"On Election Day my name will appear on the ballot, but victory is unlikely. To those who support me – and to those who choose not to – I offer my sincerest thanks. Dede."
To read more, visit the Watertown Daily Times' breaking news page.
UPDATE: Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, has issued a statement regarding Ms. Scozzafava's announcement.
"Dede Scozzafava’s has worked extremely hard to achieve the goal of becoming the next Congressman from New York's 23rd District. It takes courage and strength to step back and make the best choice for her party, and for the voters of the 23rd District. Time for the GOP to step up.”
“This must have been an incredibly difficult decision for Assemblywoman Scozzafava. She did not get into the race to lose. Dede Scozzafava’s courage and strength allowed her to make the choice to let the strongest candidate in her party move forward, and to serve the voters of the 23rd District.
“On behalf of conservative voters, activists, and volunteers across the district, I call on the national GOP to finally throw its full support and resources behind Doug Hoffman for Congress. A Hoffman victory is within sight.”