Palin Backs 3rd-Party Candidate in NY House Race
October 23, 2009 - 3:50 PMFormer Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has endorsed a third-party candidate over the GOP-backed contender in New York's congressional special election, saying her own party has abandoned its core values.
The former Alaska governor, who was Arizona Sen. John McCain's running-mate last year, said Thursday she was backing Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over Republican Assemblywoman Dierdre Scozzafava in the 23rd Congressional District race.
Palin said Hoffman, a businessman, stands for Republican principles - smaller government, lower taxes and a commitment to individual liberty - and that Scozzafava is more aligned with Democrats.
The offseason race to replace former Rep. John McHugh, whom President Barack Obama named as his Army secretary, has drawn national attention to a growing splinter between Republican moderates and conservatives who say they want the party to return its core values.
"The Republican Party today has decided to choose a candidate who more than blurs the lines, and there is no real difference between the Democrat and the Republican in this race," Palin said in a post on her Facebook page Thursday night.
Democrat Bill Owens, a Plattsburgh lawyer and retired Air Force captain, is also running. An Oct. 15 survey by Siena College showed Owens with 33 percent, Scozzafava with 29 percent and Hoffman with 23 percent. The poll of 617 likely voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
Scozzafava has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, but she's been criticized by some conservatives for her support for abortion rights, same-sex marriage and other issues.
Scozzafava spokesman Matt Burns said a vote for Hoffman hurts Republicans.
Hoffman has been labeled a spoiler by some, but he's looking more like a contender lately, with support from prominent Republicans, including former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, who endorsed Hoffman on Friday.
"The other candidates in this race are far too similar in their records and stated support for much of the Democrats' agenda in Washington," Forbes said.
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