Last night in Queensbury, Republican Matt Doheny looked very much like a man who thinks he can beat Democratic incumbent Bill Owens.
That energy was a big turnaround from the last debate, where he appeared subdued and low-energy.
A Siena poll earlier this month put Doheny down 13%, with a quarter of GOP voters favoring the incumbent.
But at this latest debate, the businessman and banker from Watertown was feisty, he came with a big team, and he was supported by an energetic chunk of the crowd, equipped with t-shirts, signs, and buttons.
“It is neck and neck, Brian,” he told me after the debate. “I think you have to look at the facts on the ground.”
Those facts include a big voter enrollment advantage for GOP.
And in the two public events where I’ve seen Doheny and Owens together this month, my impression was that the crowd favored the Republican, though not by overwhelming margins.
(Doheny scored more spontaneous applause lines last night, but he also generated the fiercest boos, and Owens also scored with his farm bill stance.)
So is Doheny really in this thing and keeping it close as we head into the final month.
“I’ve been very open and transparent that our internal [polls] have been neck and neck,” Doheny told me.
“You say you’ve been open and transparent,” I asked Doheny, “so why not release those internals, that polling? Why not let people see what your numbers show?”
Doheny’s reply: “I’ll talk to my guys about it.”
Obviously, this is on some level insider baseball. We’ll find out soon enough whether Doheny can reclaim what was once safe Republican turf. Or whether Owens has locked himself in as the sort of Blue Dog incumbent Democrat who can survive in a fairly conservative region.
But hey, I’m a journalist. You say you got good numbers? Show us your math.