A desperate struggle to control the narrative of the crucial special congressional election in upstate New York's 23rd District has broken out in the wake of Republican Dede Scozzafava's concession yesterday.
The Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times -- which previously endorsed Scozzafava -- stirred the pot this morning with an editorial backing Democrat Bill Owens and claiming that this was also Scozzafava's agenda:
During the day Saturday, she began to quietly and thoughtfully encourage her supporters to vote for Democrat William L. Owens.That single sentence sparked online commentary and inaugurated a race by reporters to confirm or refute the newspaper's assertion. Kerry Picket of The Washington Times was first to follow up:
Former Scozzafava campaign spokesman Matt Burns seems to distance himself from Ms. Scozzafava's latest reported actions. He sent the Washington Times Water Coooler the following statement:Meanwhile, Democrats continue pouring on TV ads attacking Hoffman as a greedy millionaire whose agenda is to export jobs to India and China. Anti-Scozzafava TV ads -- purchased by outside groups not under control of the Hoffman campaign -- also continue airing.
"As of yesterday, I am no longer affiliated with the campaign. Dede knows the most about the district and would have represented it well in Congress, but I am not familiar with her current thinking or decision-making." . . .
Ms. Scozzafava has yet to release a statement on the Watertown report.
Ali Akbar of 73Wire's Campaign Trail will be riding with me to Watertown this afternoon, and we will continue to pursue the story.
UPDATE: 73Wire now has their own report up. We're hitting the road to Watertown.
UPDATE II: (Smitty) TCOT Report points to the NY Daily News:
At 10 p.m. last night - right in the middle of the Halloween festivities - Scozzafava's husband, Ron McDougall, president of the Jefferson/Lewis/St. Lawrence Central Labor Council issued a statement through the AFL-CIO that he is endorsing Owens against Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman.Hopes for reconciliation dim.
Now that Scozzafava has bowed out of the race, her union backers are rushing to endorse Owens, which could prove crucial to him in the final hours of the race when it all comes down to the kind of GOTV that unions (or some of them, anyway) excel at.
UPDATE III: (Smitty) The hits just keep on comin'! Here comes the Puffington Host:
In the White House, at the very least, officials are bracing themselves for a loss, calling Scozzafava's departure bad news for Owens. The one hope, they say, is if Scozzafava -- who has more philosophical similarities with the Democratic Party than Hoffman's brand of Republicanism -- was to formally endorse her former rival.If Dede keeps up the good work, she's a shoo-in for the Arlen Specter Award for Deeply Held Principles.
"This hurts," one administration official told the Huffington Post on Saturday, "unless we can get her on board."
And on Sunday, the White House all but confirmed that it was after Scozzafava's endorsement. Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Obama's senior confidant, Valerie Jarrett said the administration "would love to have -- of course, have her support."
UPDATE IV: (Smitty) Couple of posts at NORC,
UPDATE V: (Smitty)
TCOT Report points to the Watertown Daily Times, where, at 1406 local, Dede laid it on the line, emphasis mine:
You know me, and throughout my career, I have been always been an independent voice for the people I represent. I have stood for our honest principles, and a truthful discussion of the issues, even when it cost me personally and politically. Since beginning my campaign, I have told you that this election is not about me; it’s about the people of this District.I, for one, hope that the people of NY-23 form the bolded words into a polite suppository on Tuesday.
It is in this spirit that I am writing to let you know I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same.