After accusing ACORN of trying to steal the election for New York’s 23rd congressional district and raising the alarm about irregularities at the polls, Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman has decided not to ask for a recount of the vote after all.
According to a report from News10Now in Watertown, New York, Hoffman’s campaign manager announced Tuesday he wouldn’t challenge the vote results, which show Democrat Bill Owens as having won with a 3,000-vote margin. That represents a remarkable turnaround for Hoffman, who just last week sent out a fundraising letter accusing community organizing group ACORN of attempting to steal the election.
“ACORN, the unions and Democratic Party were scared, and that’s why they tampered with the ballots of voters in NY-23,” Hoffman wrote at the time.
At the time, electoral officials were counting absentee ballots and recounting votes in several counties, and Owens’ margin of victory over Hoffman appeared to be shrinking. But with nearly all absentee ballots counted, News10Now reports that Owens still leads by some 3,000 votes.
This wouldn’t be the first time Hoffman has changed his position on the vote count. Last week Hoffman rescinded his concession in the race as the vote count narrowed, only to back off from his un-concession later the same week.
Hoffman’s candidacy for a usually obscure upstate New York seat became national news when prominent Republican figures like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin backed the Conservative Party candidate over the Republicans’ own candidate, the moderate Dede Scozzafava, exposing an ideological rift inside the GOP.
Trailing in the polls, Scozzafava withdrew from the race days before the election and threw her support to Democratic candidate Bill Owens, who now appears to have the election locked up.
But News10Now notes that “when we asked if [the decision not to file for a recount] meant the challenges were over, we were told never say never and to wait for a full statement coming later this week.”
“I think the calculation Hoffman has made here – a smart one – is that he’s more likely to get backing in the NY-23 from the local GOP if he doesn’t wander around spewing allegations against phantoms that no one else can see,” commented Michael Roston on his True/Slant blog. “Pooping where he eats by declaring that everyone else in the district is corrupt is the best way to face massive resistance and make people more amenable to a center-moving … Bill Owens.”