NY21: Matt Doheny looked competitive last night. Is he?

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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.

4 Comments on “NY21: Matt Doheny looked competitive last night. Is he?”

  1. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    I wasn’t able to make the debate but from a number of people I know who did attend I heard that the ADK Regional Chamber of Commerce did a poor job as host.

    I heard complaints that the microphones didn’t work properly and that the problems seemed to have a partisan pattern. That the Conservative side was allowed to be aggressive in an unseemly fashion at entrance area and throughout the debate. My sources tell me that there were plenty of Democrats there but they were far more polite in their support.

    I was at the Murphy/Gibson debate at the same location 2 years ago and it sounds like a similar pattern.

    What did you observe?

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  2. If Clapton is God, Warren Haynes is Jesus says:

    All the excitement in the world doesn’t change what Doheny stands for. More deregulation, more tax cuts we can’t afford, more defense spending at the cost of everything else……

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  3. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    “Or whether Owens has locked himself in as the sort of Blue Dog incumbent Democrat who can survive in a fairly conservative region.”

    Interesting the change in language over just a few months or a year ago. It used to be that this was known as a “conservative stronghold” or a “solidly Republican district.”

    Now it is a “fairly conservative region.” things really do get better sometimes.

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  4. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    From the Siena poll: “Doheny has a slim 41-37 percent lead in the area closest to the Capital District, most of which is new to the district.”

    Perhaps this explains something about his performance in the debate. Maybe he figures he’d better pump it up where he is ahead.

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