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Scozzafava: race became 'referendum on issues far from here'

JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS
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A week and a half ago, Conservative Douglas L. Hoffman was appearing on a nationally syndicated conservative talk show while Democrat William L. Owens was in New York City, attending a fundraiser with President Barack Obama.


"I was in a dairy barn that night," said Republican Dierdre K. Scozzafava. "I was talking to a constituent about the dairy crisis."


"It struck me at the time that there was a little irony in it. Our congressional race had become a referendum on issues far from here," Ms. Scozzafava said Saturday evening after announcing earlier in the day that she was suspending her congressional campaign. "Our area had become the battleground for people from outside the congressional district. And after the election is over, all of them will get back on their buses and go back home."


Ms. Scozzafava said when the Siena poll came out on Friday reporting that she had dropped 15 points behind Mr. Hoffman and slightly further behind Mr. Owens, it forced her to consider what was best for her supporters and her party.


"I was up all night thinking about this. I didn't sleep last night," Mrs. Scozzafava said. "Nobody asked me to get out. But the more I thought about it, it became evident to me that I needed to at least release my supporters and all the Republican chairpeople who had supported me."


Ms. Scozzafava said she had held her own in St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties where she had long-established ties. But in the eastern end of the congressional district where she was unknown, her opponents managed to portray her as a liberal, obscuring her record of supporting the Republicans in the state Assembly.


After weeks of being attacked by national Conservative icons such as Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, The Whig Standard, Fred Thompson, the Club for Growth, the Washington Times and Sarah Palin, Mrs. Scozzafava said it's not surprising that people in the eastern end of the congressional district have a distorted view of who she is.


"I just didn't have the money to overcome what they were saying about me," she said. "With these talk shows constantly yammering and my opponent appearing on TV shows, the campaign was not about the issues in our congressional district."


Even former Gov. George E. Pataki decided to endorse her conservative opponent.


"George Pataki is probably to the left of me on some issues," Ms. Scozzafava said. "It leaves me a little baffled."

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