Retired Air Force Capt. Bill Owens has pulled off a major upset for the Democratic Party and won the closely watched election in New York state's 23rd congressional district. Owens was ahead of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman 49% to 45% with 92% of precincts reporting, according to AP. Moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava received 6% of the vote despite withdrawing from the race over the weekend under pressure from the party's right wing.
The race was widely portrayed as a referendum on the Obama administration, although Owens focused mainly on job creation and other local issues. Hoffman's defeat came despite endorsements from Sarah Palin and other prominent Republicans. "This is only one fight in the battle, people," Hoffman told supporters after conceding the race. "Let's keep the fight going. Let's make sure our voices are heard."