BREAKING: NY-23: GOP Admits Defeat, Scozzafava Drops Out

From upstate NY’s Watertown Daily Times:

Dede Scozzafava, the Republican and Independence parties candidate, announced Saturday that she is suspending her campaign for the 23rd Congressional District and releasing all her supporters.

The state Assemblywoman has not thrown her support to either Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate, or Bill Owens, the Democratic candidate.

Ms. Scozzafava told the Watertown Daily Times that Siena Research Institute poll numbers show her too far behind to catch up – and she lacks enough money to spend on advertising in the last three days to make a difference. Mr. Owens has support from 36 percent of likely voters in the poll, with Mr. Hoffman garnering 35 percent support. Ms. Scozzafava has support from 20 percent of those polled.

To have a Republican candidate–who is running to replace a Republican incumbent–drop out due to lack of support and money is a massive, epic failure on the part of the Republican Party.

Really, it’s hard to overstate how much of a defeat this is for the GOP. Scozzafava started this race with a significant lead; for her to wind up trailing both the Democrat and a third-party challenger so much that she has to quit the race entirely makes hers one of the most disastrous campaigns in recent history.

It’s hard to say how Scozzafava’s resignation will affect the election. It’s probable that some of her supporters were conservatives who will switch to Hoffman, but it’s also likely that some of her supporters won’t back someone as right-wing as Hoffman and will instead vote for Owens. With only three days left until the election, though, I don’t think anyone can say for sure how things will go from here.

No matter who wins, though, the Republican Party has already lost. This is a humiliating defeat for Michael Steele and company, though I don’t doubt that RNC staffers will be working through the weekend trying to find some way to spin this failure.