Doug Hoffman, the Conservative candidate in NY’s 23rd congressional district race, just conceded the election to his opponent Democrat Bill Owens, according to the Watertown Daily Times. Hoffman’s come from behind, Tea Party-supported grassroots campaign, which forced establishment Republican Dede Scozzafava out of the race over the weekend, had been hailed as a referendum on the future of the GOP. The state assemblywoman, who was pro-choice, pro-union and pro-gay marriage rights, had been chosen by local GOP officials to run for the seat left open when Republican John McHugh resigned to serve as President Obama’s Secretary of the Army. After leaving the race, Scozzafava bucked her party and endorsed Democrat Owens, even as GOP leaders inside and outside the state shifted their support to Hoffman.
Despite thousands of absentee ballots reportedly still uncounted, Hoffman declared defeat just after midnight when he was behind by some 4,000 votes. According to the Associated Press, Hoffman conceded with 88 % of precincts reporting, at which point he had 46 % of the vote to Owens’s 49 %.
UPDATE: In a concession speech, Hoffman said, “I will be glad to work with [Owens] to help rebuild the economy of the North Country…I will try to work with him so we can help the North Country together.”