SCOZZAFAVA SUSPENDS CAMPAIGN FOUR DAYS BEFORE ELECTION…. In a bit of a surprise, Republican congressional candidate Dede Scozzafava, just four days before the special election in New York’s 23rd, announced this morning that she’s giving up.

In a statement posted to the candidate’s website, Scozzafava, a state assemblywoman, explains that she’s come to believe she will lose on Tuesday, and has chosen to suspend her campaign.

In recent days, polls have indicated that my chances of winning this election are not as strong as we would like them to be. The reality that I’ve come to accept is that in today’s political arena, you must be able to back up your message with money — and as I’ve been outspent on both sides, I’ve been unable to effectively address many of the charges that have been made about my record. […]

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.

On Election Day my name will appear on the ballot, but victory is unlikely.

As an assessment, Scozzafava is almost certainly correct. Despite being the Republican candidate in a Republican district, her support has deteriorated in recent weeks, especially as far-right activists have rallied behind Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman.

To this extent, the right-wing base has a feather in its cap this morning — it forced a moderate Republican to flee from the campaign she seemed likely to win as recently as a month ago.

For the Republican Party, however, it’s much tougher sell. Scozzafava had the support of the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee — and she was still running third in a district the Republican Party has held since the Civil War.

The next question, of course, is what happens next. Recent polls show Hoffman and Democrat Bill Owens effectively tied, and where Scozzafava’s supporters go will dictate the outcome. Given the history of the district, Hoffman would appear poised to get a big boost. On the other hand, some locals are turned off by Hoffman’s right-wing positions, his unfamiliarity with local issues, and the fact that he doesn’t actually own a home in the congressional district he’s running in.

Indeed, there may well be some moderate Republicans who’ll hesitate before rewarding the far-right candidate who wants to drive moderates from the party.

Time will tell.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.