The contentious race for the 23rd Congressional District seat is over. On the night of Tuesday, Nov. 3, the Democratic candidate Bill Owens defeated Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman and took the district that has been a Republican party stronghold for a century.
According to the AP, Owens defeated Hoffman 49 percent to 45 percent. Meanwhile, Republican Dierdre Scozzafava who dropped out of the race on Saturday, Oct. 31, still received 6 percent of the vote. Hoffman congratulated Owens on election night.
In a statement to supporters in Plattsburgh, Owens vowed to continue to create jobs, repair the economy, protect dairy farmers and fight for health care and Fort Drum.
“When we began this journey, a lot of people didn’t give us much of a chance,” said Owens. “And tonight, with the entire country watching, Upstate New Yorkers sent a message. We came together tonight as Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to seek solutions – to create jobs for our workers, to bring economic development back to our communities, to fight for Fort Drum and to give all middle class families in Upstate New York a fair shake from Washington.”
Via a post on his website, doughoffmanforcongress.com, Hoffman writes, “I congratulate Bill Owens on a hard won victory. In our tradition of free elections, our country continues,” said Hoffman. “And although Bill Owens has won, I believe America is turning the page to a new dawn … I would like to thank all of you who placed your faith in me, who worked tirelessly and shared your enthusiasm with those around you.”
Owens also thanked Assemblywoman Dierdre Scozzafava, R-Governeur, for her support after dropping out of the race.
“I must give special thanks to Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava,” said Owens. “I was honored to earn the support of a great leader like her. She has always put the people of Upstate New York before any partisan agenda. I share her commitment and I look forward to working with her to help the people of this district.”
Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chris Van Hollen released a statement acknowledging and congratulating Owens on his unexpected victory while bashing Republicans for their extremist views.
“Congratulations to Congressman-elect Bill Owens on his remarkable victory,” said Van Hollen. “…after losing a seat that was held by Republicans for nearly 120 years, [National Republicans] have to deal with an emboldened and well-funded far right-wing that refuses to tolerate moderate Republicans with differing opinions.”
Likewise, Chairman of the New York state Democratic Committee, Jay S. Jacobs, congratulated Owens on the success of his campaign.
“We send our congratulations to Owens for a race well run,” said Jacobs. “He will be an honorable representative for the people of the 23rd District of New York.”
In his speech Owens said that America should not be separated by political parties in solving the challenges that lay ahead.
“Our challenges aren’t Democratic or Republican,” said Owens. “They’re not liberal or conservative. They are American challenges that we will overcome with American resolve.”
The seat that Owens now occupies has been represented by the GOP since the Civil War. The special election to fill the seat began when former Congressman John McHugh became secretary of the army under the Obama administration.