Dede Scozzafava is in hot – ok boiling – water with her Republican Party, after bucking the GOP to endorse her former Democratic opponent in the race to represent New York’s 23rd congressional district. (Scozzafava’s endorsement yesterday – after she dropped out of the race on Saturday – threw what was already a turbulent contest into even more chaos. Democrat Bill Owens and Conservative Doug Hoffman, who’s supported by the GOP, are now competing for the seat left vacant when Republican John McHugh resigned to serve as Secretary of the Army.) Powerful members of Scozzafava’s party have accused her of “betrayal,” and she’s been called a “turncoat” who’s “driven by bitterness.” But she’s campaigning for Owens nonetheless. In addition to meeting up with Owens (in front of the news media) at a local event Sunday evening, Scozzafava is also voicing a robocall on behalf of the Democrat’s campaign. Here’s the script (courtesy of the Watertown Daily Times – scroll down for audio):
“Hi, this is Dede Scozzafava calling on behalf of Bill Owens. And I wanted to let you know that I am supporting Bill for Congress.
Since beginning my campaign I have said that this election is not about me, it’s about the people of this district. It’s not in the cards for me to be your representative but I strongly believe Bill Owens is the only candidate who can build upon John McHugh’s lasting legacy in Congress.
In Bill Owens I see a sense of duty and integrity. He will be an independent voice, devoted to doing what is right for New York. To address the tough challenges ahead we must rise above partisanship and politics, and work together.
Please join me in voting for Bill Owens on Tuesday.”
And, for the record, maybe the White House and other national party leaders shouldn’t get all the credit for Scozzafava’s bombshell decision to endorse Owens. Yes, Scozzafava received many many phone calls over the weekend from high-profile Democrats after she dropped out of the race, urging her to support Owens over Hoffman. (Scozzafava’s cell phone voice mailbox and home answering are both full and not accepting any more messages.) She also met with state and national Democratic party leaders on Satursday. But her husband Ron McDougall tells me Scozzafava actually made the decision to endorse her Democratic opponent while at church on Sunday morning.
The former candidate had gone to church for choir practice about an hour before her husband on Sunday and when the two met up just before services began, Scozzafava told McDougall she had made a decision. “She’s a strong-willed woman,” said McDougall, a powerful union leader in the district who had endorsed Owens less than 24 hours before his wife. “She’s been involved in public office for 21 years, she makes her own decisions and her decision was made alone.”