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November 4, 2009

Fallout from election heats up

Maroun rebukes Duprey for handling of race

PLATTSBURGH — Less than a day after Tuesday's election for the 23rd Congressional District, the fallout is smoldering hot.

Angry with the way Republicans handled their candidate selection, a Franklin County legislator says he will strongly consider running for Congress or State Assembly next year.

"The supporters of Dede should be ashamed of themselves," Paul Maroun, a Franklin County legislator from Tupper Lake, said in reference to Republican candidate Dierdre "Dede" Scozzafava.

THE CHOICE

Maroun was one of nine people Republicans were considering as a candidate when the race was set last summer.

The seat opened up after President Barack Obama named incumbent Congressman John McHugh, a Republican, as the new secretary of the Army.

Republicans chose Scozzafava, an assemblywoman from Gouverneur in St. Lawrence County, as their candidate.

Maroun finished second in the voting by the party chairs of the 11 counties in the district.

Scozzafava's selection as the candidate drew heavy criticism from the outset, as many Republicans complained that with her support of gay marriage and abortion rights, she was far too liberal.

In the wake of that criticism, Douglas Hoffman, an accounting firm owner from Lake Placid, emerged as the Conservative Party candidate. Hoffman had sought the Republican nod but did not get any support from the county chairs.

Democrats chose Plattsburgh attorney William Owens, who won the race in a close vote over Hoffman.

Hoffman made great strides during the campaign; three days before the election, he was about even with Owens.

Hoffman's campaign, bolstered by funding from Washington conservative-interest groups, battered Scozzafava throughout, repeatedly using the "liberal" tag.

It proved effective — Scozzafava dropped out of the race last Saturday after learning in a Siena poll that she had only about 20 percent of the support.

The next day, angry at the way the race played out, she threw her support behind Owens instead of Hoffman, further irritating party members.

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