Conservative favorite Doug Hoffman suspended his Congressional campaign Tuesday, improving Republican prospects of reclaiming the upstate seat that Democratic Rep. Bill Owens won in a three-way special election last fall.
It is too late, however, for Hoffman to remove his name from the ballot, where he will appear under the Conservative Party line.
Hoffman’s decision, reported Tuesday morning in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, was intended to unify the Republican Party behind nominee Matt Doheny in an effort to reclaim the seat held by Republicans for much of the last century.
“Our nation is at a crossroads, and it is imperative that on Election Day we wrest control of Congress” from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and the Democratic majority, Hoffman said in a prepared statement, as reported by the Daily Enterprise. “It was never my intention to split the vote.”
The announcement came just as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reserved $500,000 in weekend airtime to boost the incumbent. The news could create a complication for the DCCC; if it concludes that a unified Republican electorate sharply diminishes Owens’ chances, the party might not want to spend money in the district. But with Hoffman’s name still on the ballot, a split GOP remains possible.
Hoffman lost a hard-fought Republican primary against Doheny on Sept. 14 and initially said he would fight to win the seat under the Conservative Party line. Backed by the tea party movement, he did the same thing during last fall’s special election, creating the three-way contest that gave Owens the victory.