Support declined further following a "breach of trust" controversy that occurred when Assemblywoman Janet Duprey threw the nomination to her friend, Scozzafava, despite the wishes of the majority of Republicans in the county where she also serves as party chairman.
Scozzafava has been a member of the New York State Assembly since 1999; she served as Mayor of the Village of Gouverneur from 1993 through 1998. She was appointed Minority Whip and serves on the Assembly Banks, Codes, Ethics and Guidance, Rules, and Ways and Means committees.
Scozzafava's political views are outside the mainstream of conservative Republicans. She is pro-choice regarding abortion and supports same-sex marriage.  She voted for Governor David Paterson's 2008-2009 state budget. Additionally, Scozzafava endorsed the 2009 economic stimulus package, cap and trade climate legislation, and the Employee Free Choice Act (card check). 
Scozzafava received the endorsements of House Minority Leader John Boehner, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and former GOP Speaker Newt Gingrich. However, she received virtually no support from the Republican National Committee and her liberal policies divided the Republican base.  Scozzafava received the endorsement of Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas; "The most liberal candidate leads (and it's not the Dem)." 
Gingrich insisted that the special election should not be interpreted as a conservative litmus test and that his endorsement of Scozzafava was entirely about respecting local party leaders. He noted that Hoffman had run against Scozzafava for the Republican nomination and lost at a series of county meetings; in an e-mail, he warned of the "grave danger of establishing the precedent that every faction can run a third party candidate if they lose a primary or a convention," adding that such a strategy is "the road to re-elect Obama and make Nancy Pelosi speaker for life."
The district supported Obama by 5-points in 2008. The Sienna poll released Oct. 15 found Democrat Owens pulling into the lead with 33% (a gain of 5), followed by Scozzafava at 29% (a loss of 6) and Hoffman at 23% (a gain of 7).
In 2008, Scozzafava's voting record in the State Assembly received a 15% rating from the Conservative Party of New York , further to the left than 46 Assembly Democrats. Scozzafava's campaign has stated she will not rule out changing party affiliation to Democrat if she wins the election.  Polls in late October show Scozzafava's support is fast evaporating, as independents move to Hoffman and Republicans split. Observers expect she will come in third place.
On October 19th reporter John McCormack from the Weekly Standard asked Scozzafava on health care, and her husband went on to call 9/11 emergency. Audio recordings showed that McCormack was not raising his voice. Lowville Village Police Chief Eric Fredenburg said that "I don’t believe it ever escalated to anything that would ever be classified as an emergency." No charges were filed against McCormack.  
- Michael Patrick Leahy. Nomination of Liberal Republican in New York 23rd Tainted by Breach of Trust, October 19, 2009.
- Quoted in '"Washington Post Oct. 28, 2009
- see details
- See Oct 26-28 poll data