Doug Hoffman today abruptly dropped out of the race for Congress and threw his backing to the man who beat him in the Republican primary.
Hoffman had planned to run on the Conservative Party line against Republican Matt Doheny and Democratic incumbent Bill Owens.
Republican leaders had urged him not to run and he had lost the support of his backers in the Upstate New York Tea Party over what they called an incompetent campaign.
But Hoffman stayed in the race, guaranteeing that his name will appear on the November ballot.
In an e-mail to supporters today, Hoffman indicated he has had a change of heart. “It was never my intention to split the Republican vote,” he wrote, as he endorsed Doheny.
In a sign that Hoffman’s departure was organized, e-mailed statements from Doheny and the National Republican Congressional Committee showed up minutes after Hoffman’s e-mail arrived.
Doheny said Hoffman “deserves a round of applause” for stepping aside.Â “Doug Hoffmanâ€™s selfless decision to support Republican nominee Matt Doheny immediately puts Bill Owens and his liberal Democrat backers in Washington on the defensive,” said Ken Spain, NRCC Communications Director.
Doug Hoffman’s full statement is below.
“I entered the 23rd Congressional District race for the good of our nation and to represent the common sense beliefs and values of the voters of upstate New York. Our nation is at a crossroads and it is imperative that on Election Day we wrest control of Congress from Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat majority.
“It was never my intention to split the Republican vote in the 23rd District. So today, I withdraw as a candidate from this race. Under New York State Election Law my name cannot be removed from the Conservative Party line on the ballot. However, I strongly urge and request that my supporters not vote for me and certainly not vote for the Democrat or Working Families Party candidate.
“Matt Doheny and I may have differed on some issues during the course of our primary race. Now, we must put those differences aside and do what is best for our nation. So today, I am asking all my supporters to cast their vote for Matt Doheny on Election Day, November 2nd.
“I want to offer heartfelt thanks to Chairman Mike Long and the New York State Conservative Party, to my staff, volunteers and supporters who all worked tirelessly on my campaign. I’d also like to thank everyone who offered me hospitality, warmth and encouragement as I crisscrossed the Congressional District, your generosity of spirit and your belief in our nation was always an inspiration and shall never be forgotten.”
Matt Doheny’s full statement is below:
Doug Hoffman deserves a round of applause from everyone across the 23rd who want to see this Congressional seat back in conservative, Republican hands. And he deserves a round of applause from the voters across this nation who will bring fiscal sanity back to Washington, D.C. by electing a Republican House majority in November.
I thank Doug for carrying the conservative torch in the 23rd, and am deeply appreciative that today he has passed that torch to me. I welcome his support and will continue to work to gain the support of the many voters in the 23rd Congressional District who believed in Doug and his message.
It is a message that he and I have always shared — we must stop the spending, the taxation, and the over-regulation currently coming from Washington D.C. Now, more than ever, Republicans, Conservatives and all like-minded independent voters can unite to defeat incumbent Bill Owens on November 2.