Doug Hoffman is throwing his support behind his former Republican rival Matt Doheny in his effort to defeat Democratic Rep. Bill Owens.
Mr. Doheny and Mr. Hoffman made the announcement in Plattsburgh, and did so in Canton at noon.
The endorsement serves as the conclusion to a years-long feud between Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Doheny, and points to a possible detente among several warring conservative factions. It also could provide a critical boost to Mr. Doheny's chances against Mr. Owens in the fall, depending on whether Mr. Hoffman's ardent supporters are willing to follow his lead.
Mr. Hoffman, a Lake Placid accountant, was selected by the Conservative Party in the 2009 special election against Mr. Owens after the Republican Party candidate, Dede Scozzafava, was deemed too liberal for the seat.
Ms. Scozzafava ended up dropping out of the race and endorsing Mr. Owens. Mr. Hoffman lost in a squeaker.
He ran again in 2010, but lost to Mr. Doheny in a Republican primary. He couldn't get his name off the Conservative Party line, and while he stopped actively campaigning, he never forcefully endorsed Mr. Doheny. He took in several thousand votes — more than the margin that Mr. Doheny lost by.
I wrote on primary night that Mr. Doheny's primary victory against Kellie Greene would unify the right, at least on paper. The move today could help move "on paper" into reality.
To give you a sense about how deeply this feud ran, consider this story from North Country Public Radio: "The clearest message from last night's debate was that Matt Doheny and Doug Hoffman really don't like each other. When asked to give one reason why he might consider voting for his opponent, Hoffman –who lives in Saranac Lake – answered this way: 'If I died?'"
Republican leaders in the north country were incensed about Mr. Hoffman's lack of public campaigning for Mr. Doheny after he dropped out in 2010.
Don Coon, the Jefferson County GOP chairman, was one of those. But he's ready to bury the hatchet, too.
"I think time has healed all wounds," Mr. Coon said. "There's a difference between when you're in the midst of a battle. Japan was our enemy in World War II. They're not now, are they?"
Are you a supporter of or former volunteer for Mr. Hoffman? What's your reaction to the news? Email me at email@example.com.
UPDATE 2: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of the House Democrats' re-election efforts, had this to say about Mr. Hoffman's about-face on Mr. Doheny:
“Last election, Doug Hoffman said he might consider voting for Matt Doheny 'if I died' and none of Matt Doheny's Tea Party agenda has changed since,” said Josh Schwerin, a DCCC spokesman, in an email. “Matt Doheny is still creating personal scandals for himself, he still stands by his Wall Street past, and he still can't relate to middle class voters - sounds like the same failed Matt Doheny.”