Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., was among those who urged Dierdre K. Scozzafava to endorse Democratic congressional candidate William L. Owens, the senator's spokesman said Saturday.
The spokesman, Maxwell Young, said the senator called a number of north country political leaders after Ms. Scozzafava suspended her campaign and had more than one conversation with the Republican candidate ahead of her announcement. He said the senator also called other Democratic leaders about the situation, including White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Mr. Owens said he was "honored" by the endorsement.
"Over the course of her career, Dede has always committed to serving the people of Upstate New York before serving a partisan agenda," he said in a statement. "Now more than ever we need bipartisan solutions to help bring jobs to Upstate New York to get our economy back on track and move our country forward. Those are the kinds of priorities I will fight for in Congress because that's the kind of leadership Upstate New York needs right now."
Those in the camp of the Conservative candidate Douglas L. Hoffman called Ms. Scozzafava a turncoat.
"This afternoon Dede Scozzafava betrayed the GOP," Senior Communications Advisor Rob Ryan said in a statement. "She endorsed a Pelosi Democrat who will spend more, tax more, and push the liberal agenda that is dragging down this nation."
After bowing out of the 23rd Congressional race Saturday, Republican Scozzafava released the following statement today at 2 :06 p.m.:
I want to thank you for your support and friendship. Over the past 24 hours, I have had encouraging words sent to my family and me. Many of you have asked me whom you should support on Tuesday.
Since announcing the suspension of my campaign, I have thought long and hard about what is best for the people of this District, and how to answer your questions. This is not a decision that I have made lightly.
You know me, and throughout my career, I have been always been an independent voice for the people I represent. I have stood for our honest principles, and a truthful discussion of the issues, even when it cost me personally and politically. Since beginning my campaign, I have told you that this election is not about me; it's about the people of this District.
It is in this spirit that I am writing to let you know I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same.
It's not in the cards for me to be your representative, but I strongly believe Bill is the only candidate who can build upon John McHugh's lasting legacy in the U.S. Congress. John and I worked together on the expansion of Fort Drum and I know how important that base is to the economy of this region. I am confident that Bill will be able to provide the leadership and continuity of support to Drum Country just as John did during his tenure in Congress.
In Bill Owens, I see a sense of duty and integrity that will guide him beyond political partisanship. He will be an independent voice devoted to doing what is right for New York. Bill understands this district and its people, and when he represents us in Congress he will put our interests first.
Please join me in voting for Bill Owens on Tuesday. To address the tough challenges ahead, we must rise above partisanship and politics and work together. There's too much at stake in this election to do otherwise.
A Democratic source said that Scozzafava and her husband, Ronald P. McDougall, met with U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, D-Huntington, and state Democratic Committee Chairwoman June F. O'Neill at a restaurant in Gouverneur on Saturday afternoon to discuss the endorsement.
Owens issued the following statement after securing the endorsement of Republican Dede Scozzafava:
"I am honored to have Assemblywoman Scozzafava's endorsement. Over the course of her career, Dede has always committed to serving the people of Upstate New York before serving a partisan agenda. I have a tremendous amount of respect for what she's accomplished. We share a commitment to finding common sense solutions to address the challenges we're facing here in Upstate New York.
"Now more than ever we need bipartisan solutions to help bring jobs to Upstate New York to get our economy back on track and move our country forward. Those are the kinds of priorities I will fight for in Congress because that's the kind of leadership Upstate New York needs right now."