The decision by Doug Hoffman to stand down and endorse Matt Doheny was abrupt but likely not spontaneous.
Mr. Hoffman has been on a roller coaster the past two years, from obscure Adirondack CPA to national conservative icon to a minor party candidate for Congress who really had no prospect other than to split anti Democratic votes in such a way that Democrat Bill Owens would be reelected.
After his narrow loss in the recent GOP primary, Mr. Hoffman was likely rattled and disappointed. Unless you have placed yourself at the mercy of voters, you cannot appreciate the hurt a loss can evoke.
With the Conservative nomination his, the loss of the primary didn't remove him from the race and last year he drew 46% on that line.
Likely what happened was a sense of isolation as GOP and Tea Party leaders left him. There was no money coming in. Even in his mountain redoubt, Mr. Hoffman gradually saw he couldn't win.
There were surely overtures from the Doheny campaign to help pick up campaign debts and staffers. An assurance of kind words as well to soften the agony of defeat.Maybe renting rooms in the famiy motel.
In the end, Hoffman's analytical side prevailed and four more weeks of being quoted in the papers and participating in debates would lead to a third place finish.
It might have been a strong third...but he would not be Congressman.....he would have neglected his own business...spent family funds and be a pariah for being seen as getting Bill Owens reelected.
Rather than prolong the agony, he got out...disappointed many but pleased others.....and ended his improbable journey into big time politics.
Pretty good run when you think about it.