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Hensarling Backs Scozzafava in N.Y. Special Election

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) on Friday announced his endorsement of state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R) in the special election in New York’s 23rd district. “I am supporting Dede Scozzafava in her campaign for Congress,— Hensarling said in a statement. “I am backing the only Republican in this race who can win and don’t want to lose this seat to [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi for a generation.—While in most cases a candidate endorsement from a Member of the same party would hardly constitute news, Hensarling’s support of Scozzafava is important because Republicans are trying to build conservative support for her campaign. Hensarling is a former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. Scozzafava is fending off a challenge not only from Attorney Bill Owens (D) in the Nov. 3 election but also from the right in the form of Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman. Hoffman has the backing of the anti-tax Club for Growth, which has spent more than $250,000 on TV ads on his behalf, as well as other prominent conservative figures and groups. Scozzafava is viewed as too liberal by some Republicans, and Hoffman is expected to siphon off a considerable percentage of votes from the GOP base. Just this week some House moderates and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) used the GOP’s weekly Conference meeting to urge their colleagues to support their nominee financially. As of Friday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had spent $231,000 in independent expenditures on the race. The NRCC, meanwhile, has spent $313,000 on the race. The upstate district was previously represented by former Rep. John McHugh (R), who resigned last month to become secretary of the Army. The district only marginally favors Republicans.

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