The chairman of the Upstate New York Tea Party says he’s not pleased with Doug Hoffman’s decision to remain in the race for New York’s 23rd Congressional District as a third party candidate.
Mark Barie told WNBZ Thursday that Matt Doheny is the clear winner following last week’s GOP primary. UNYTEA backed Hoffman throughout the primary campaign, but its support has wavered since last week’s vote.
“Matt Doheny deserves our congratulations,” he said. “It was a hard-fought campaign; some would say it got a little bit ugly at times. Clearly, the people have spoken and it’s beyond challenge.”
Barie adds that a three-way race could spell doom for Republicans and Conservatives hoping to take back a critical seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I have to say I’m disappointed in Mr. Hoffman’s decision,” he said. “I was hoping he’d withdraw from the race. That’s the only true way to unite the party and move forward and to unelect Bill Owens. We have a choice between two fiscal conservatives and a tax-and-spend liberal, and if we don’t merge the two fiscal conservatives, it means the tax-and-spend liberal has a chance to win and I think that’s unfortunate.”
Barie hopes that UNYTEA will – quote – “live to fight another day.”
“The tea party is a concern of mine now,” he said. “Given the economic health and welfare of this country and what’s good for the New York 23rd, I have to be concerned for the tea party. I want it to live to fight another day. We’re in the process of surveying our members. Preliminary results show the tea party is split – there’s a lot of Hoffman fans, and there’s a lot of Doheny fans.”
He notes Hoffman has, however, lost a great deal of support within UNYTEA’s ranks.
“Doheny has picked up a lot of support, and my email and my phone calls are running four to one in favor of Doheny – people want to move on,” Doheny said. “I don’t know where Hoffman is going to go next. To my knowledge he has no money and no organization. He’s waited a long time to make his decision. He’s been out of touch and out of communication with virtually everybody. That’s no way to kick-off a campaign for Congress. I’m genuinely confused.”
Barie tells WNBZ he’s cleared the air with Hoffman, but doesn’t understand how his campaign will be viable going forward, as he has now lost a special election and a primary.