GOP establishment-backed candidate Dede Scozzafava withdraws from NY-23 special election.

In recent weeks, the special congressional election in New York’s 23 district has been heating up, with “big tent” and “establishment” Republicans — such as Newt Gingrich, the RNC, and the NRCC — backing Dede Scozzafava, and “purist” Republicans — such as Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, and Bill Kristol — backing Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman. Scozzafava had been “under siege” from these conservatives “because she supported gay rights and abortion rights and was considered too liberal on various fiscal issues.” Today — just three days before the election — Scozzafava has announced that she’s withdrawing because polling shows her too far behind to win:

“Today, I again seek to act for the good of our community,” Ms. Scozzafava wrote in a letter to friends and supporters. “It is increasingly clear that pressure is mounting on many of my supporters to shift their support. Consequently, I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so. I am and have always been a proud Republican. It is my hope that with my actions today, my party will emerge stronger and our district and our nation can take an important step towards restoring the enduring strength and economic prosperity that has defined us for generations.

Scozzafava has not yet thrown her support behind either Hoffman or Democratic candidate Bill Owens, and her name will remain on the ballot. Gingrich recently slammed his fellow conservatives for the “precedent” they’re setting, saying, “So I say to my many conservative friends who suddenly decided that whether they’re from Minnesota or Alaska or Texas, they know more than the upstate New York Republicans? I don’t think so. And I don’t think it’s a good precedent.”