Doug Hoffman conceded defeat on Tuesday but predicted he won’t lose in 2010.
You heard that right: The Conservative Party candidate for Congress this year will run again next year. “I promise to help restore our nation’s faith in elected officials when we win,” he said in a letter posted on his website.
Hoffman admitted Tuesday that he had lost the special election to Democrat Bill Owens. Owens stretched his lead to about 3,500 votes as absentee ballots were counted in recent days.
“Bill Owens won,” Hoffman said plainly in a statement.
Owens’ remarkable win, aided by the last-minute endorsement of Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava after she quit the race, sets the stage for a 2010 rematch with Hoffman. Owens is the first Democrat to represent Oswego County in Congress since a one-term Congressman the 1950s, and only the second since the end of the Civil War.
The conservative, who does not live in the Congressional district, captured national attention with his remarkable campaign. The candidates spent more than $4 million on the race, making it easily the costliest Congressional election ever seen in this region.
In his letter to supporters, Hoffman said he would attack Owens for going back on promises he said Owens made during the campaign. He said that his campaign’s conservative message had been heard across the nation. “In three months, we almost toppled an entrenched political system and successfully defied the conventional thinking of the elite political punditry. Citizen government is making a comeback in America,” he wrote.
Hoffman apologized for what he called “an unfortunate and poorly worded fundraising email….As we tried to make sense of the false vote counts and stories of software viruses in the voting machines, we never intended to imply the election commissioners had somehow acted improperly. This was never our intention and, on the contrary, the election commissioners went above and beyond to uphold their duty to ensure a fair election took place. I owe them a debt of gratitude for all they have done.”
But the fundraising e-mail did more than imply improper actions. “Recent developments leave me to wonder who is scheming behind closed doors, twisting arms and stealing elections from the voters of NY-23,” the letter said. “I’m sure you are as dismayed as I am to learn of the mischief that took place in Oswego and neighboring counties. We know this would not be the first time for the ACORN faithful to tamper with democracy.”
It continued, “Oswego County elections officials blame the mistakes on “chaos” in their call-in center that included a phone system foul-up, and on inspectors who read numbers incorrectly when phoning in results. This sounds like a tactic right from the ACORN playbook.”
Elections inspectors are appointed by the two major political parties and, in essence, keep an eye on each other.