To see my straight-up story on the issues tackled last night in Greenwich, go here. Now for some more rambly thoughts:
1. Bill Owens’ advance teamwork wasn’t great last night. He has a big war chest and Washington County has an active Democratic Party. What’s more, farmers are currently pretty impatient with the GOP’s handling of the farm bill. Yet there was no evidence of Owens support, in the room or outside.
2. Matt Doheny had some spirited support last night, but it didn’t look anything like what we saw for Chris Gibson, the newcomer who toppled Democrat Scott Murphy in Washington County two years ago. To win this race, Doheny will need big margins from conservative areas like this. I’m not sure I saw that kind of zeal last night.
3. Neither of these guys are barn-burners. They’re not particularly ideological and neither light up the stage. Again, it’s a big departure from the Gibson-Murphy contest, where we saw some real fireworks, both issue-wise and rhetorically. (Remember Gibson’s call for a new nuclear power industry in the North Country? No big ideas like that this time.)
4. Both of these guys seem really relaxed less than two months before election day, and I have no idea why. You would think that Bill Owens would be fighting for his political life in a district that leans heavily Republican; and you’d think that Doheny would be hard-charging as the challenger.
5. Farmers may lean Republican, but they have both parties eating out of their hands. Owens and Doheny basically agree that farmers should get tons of goodies from the government without paying much in the way of taxes or facing significant regulations. In a year when fish kills and toxic algae blooms are making headlines, Gov Cuomo wants to ease farm pollution rules. That, my friends, is real political clout.
6. I have absolutely no idea where this race stands. I’ve heard rumblings of an independent poll being done in NY21 and I am eager to hear theories from In Boxers. What are you hearing from your neighbors, from political leaders in your area? Is Doheny gaining traction? Is Owens’ Democratic brand hurting him?
Wild (but civil and intelligent) speculation welcome.