New York 23: Hoffman Out, Race Moves to Toss-Up

October 5, 2010 · 2:26 PM EDT

Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman suspended his campaign in New York’s 23rd District, dramatically improving the Republicans’ chances of winning back a seat they lost less than a year ago.

Democrat Bill Owens won the GOP open seat in a November 2009 special election after the GOP splintered between Hoffman and GOP nominee/Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafavva, a liberal Republican. Just before the election, Scozzafavva dropped out and endorsed Owens, who won the race with 48%.

After Matt Doheny, a former managing director at Deutsche Bank, defeated Hoffman in the September 14 GOP primary, it appeared that Republicans were headed for a replay, since Hoffman reiterated his commitment to running on the Conservative line.

But after the primary, Hoffman slowly bled support beginning with the local tea party, donors, and the New York Post, which previously supported Hoffman but endorsed Doheny last week.

On September 29, Minority Leader John Boehner, NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions, former NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (who had been a Hoffman supporter), and other members of the GOP leadership signed a letter endorsing Doheny.

Republican strategists are excited, not just for a unified party, but because they believe Doheny is putting together a credible campaign in an expansive district. He ran ads for a month on broadcast television in three markets that cover most of the congressional district for the primary.

This is a break Republicans had hoped for but were never sure they were going to get. For now, the race moves to Pure Toss-Up.