NY21 Catch-all: A new poll, endorsements, chides, race to the finish


It’s sprint week for incumbent Democrat Bill Owens from Plattsburgh and Republican challenger Matt Doheny from Watertown.  Check out our coverage of the issues, debates and events that have shaped this year’s campaign, including a piece about school lunches from our Julie Grant, and David Sommerstein’s latest debate story.

Chris Morris and I will have stories about the campaign on Friday, with Chris talking about the final days of the race and how the candidates will try to move the needle.  I’ll report on Owens and Doheny’s competing claims to the mantle of being the true businessman in the race.

If you just can’t wait that long, here are some nuggets to keep you thinking.

A New Poll

Siena Research Institute will release a new poll tomorrow morning measuring the race.  This follows a few days after the Doheny camp released an internal partisan survey suggesting that the Republican trails just slightly in a razor-thin contest.  We’ll see what Siena’s independent survey shows.


The Watertown Daily Times has given the nod to Matt Doheny, arguing that the North Country needs new leadership to overcome economic woes.  The paper lays the blame for the national recession squarely on the shoulders of the Democratic Party.

“Democrats perpetuated the economic decline of the past four years,” concludes the WDT editorial board.  “The Democrat-led approach of those years has not worked, and Mr. Owens has been a part of that.”

The Glens Falls Post Star also sided with Doheny, though their endorsement was hardly ringing.  “We’re not trying to be flip, but this almost came down to a coin toss,” the newspaper concluded.

“Unfortunately, that is not a good thing. After interviewing Democratic incumbent Congressman Bill Owens and Republican challenger Matt Doheny for an hour each, our editorial board was left underwhelmed and uninspired about who to endorse for Congress in the new 21st District,” argued the paper.

The Post Star settled on Doheny because his “business experience was better suited to the challenging economic environment that now faces the country and the district.”

Meanwhile, the Albany Times-Union — an important paper in the southern tier of the newly reshaped district — is siding with Owens.  The T-U says that Doheny refused to take a position on the national Defense of Marriage Act, which limits Federal recognition of same-sex couples.

“It suggests a lack of an essential quality in a representative — an understanding of how government policy affects people — and a temperament ill-suited to the spirit of cooperation we desperately need in Congress,” the paper concludes.

FWIW, the T-U also backed Republican Chris Gibson this year.  He used to represent a big chunk of the North Country but his district has been reshaped to include the Hudson River valley.

Still to come in NY21:  Big endorsements from the Plattsburgh Press Republican and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

Secret Money Report

An independent campaign finance reform group called Open Secrets is reporting that a group using undisclosed donors has funneled huge amounts of cash to the North Country to support Republican Matt Doheny.

According to Open Secrets, the group Americans for Tax Reform spent roughly $834,000 attacking Democrat Bill Owens through October 25th.   According to Open Secrets, Doheny has also spent roughly $750,000 of his own money to help finance his campaign.


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18 Comments on “NY21 Catch-all: A new poll, endorsements, chides, race to the finish”

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  1. Pete Klein says:

    I’m to the point where I really don’t care what the polls say, what the pundits say, what newspaper endorses which candidates or what any of the ads for any candidate says.
    I know who I will vote for and I have known that for months.
    Endorsement of candidates by newspapers is the height of conceit.
    Drive yourself crazy for the next few days.
    I’ll let you know who won what next Wed.

  2. Mervel says:

    I am confused we just had one of the candidates arrested for the third time and taking a stand on Breast Cancer and you guys are focusing on this trivial stuff? http://northcountrynow.com/news/green-party-congressional-candidate-hassig-charged-trespassing-after-denouncing-national-breast

  3. Mervel says:

    ‘In a press release, Hassig said he danced and offered spoken word to raise awareness that National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an “evil lie of evil corporations that used chemicals carelessly.” ‘

  4. The Post-Star has already issued its endorsement. It said both were underwhelming and could be decided by a toss of a coin. Despite such underselling, they decided to endorse one of the candidates anyways. The coin flip landed on Doheny’s side.

  5. wj says:

    The endorsements from the Watertown Daily Times and the Albany Times-Union reveal something significant:

    1) The T-U is right: “…an essential quality in a representative [IS] an understanding of how government policy affects people”

    2) For a news organization (like the WDT) to blame Democrats alone for the slow economic recovery reveals a deep-seated stupidity, a willful ignorance of Republican intransigence and the misplaced zealotry of an ideologue.

    These positions let me know which paper to read and which one to line a parakeet cage.

  6. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    The Post Star also endorsed Sweeney, if I remember correctly. Shows their ability to judge character.

  7. mervel says:

    They had a third choice. I mean do they even know about the evil of Breast Cancer Awareness Month? I doubt it in that they are part of the corporate elite and likely cannot dance.

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

    I’m shocked, just shocked that the Watertown Times would endorse the Republican.

  9. Paul says:

    I am a republican but Owens seems like a much better choice. I hope he wins.

  10. Poor Mervel. His reading comprehension needs so much work.

    The argument wasn’t that smaller party/independent candidates should automatically get your support. It’s that they should automatically get your CONSIDERATION. If you consider them and reject them, then so be it. At least you used your brain, your independent judgment, in making the call. The Post-Star endorsement did discuss why it rejected Hassig (thus instantly doubling its coverage of him. As such, it obviously considered him and choose someone else. So be it.

  11. Mervel says:

    Hey man I LOVE Hassig he is the only interesting thing in a boring race. Where else but the north country can the Green candidate get rejected by the national and state Green Party, call for rounding up Mexicans and sending them out, call the state Green Chairwomen an elitist bitch, get arrested over and over and claim that is what he LIVES for, and condemn National Breast Cancer awareness month as an evil plot! You can’t make this stuff up, its great. Owens verses Doheney? How can that compare snore…….

  12. It's Still All Bush's Fault says:


    Hassig will end up taking close to 10% of the vote.

    Owens will prevail and retain his seat.

    Doheny will start making preparations for another run in 2014. He will sell his islands on the St. Lawrence and buy an island on Lake Champlain.

  13. Mervel says:

    But wait, if Hassig takes 10% of the vote that will likely come from Owens! Owens and Doheny are tied right now or close could Hassig swing this thing; be a spoiler, a kingmaker! Next time around will candidates drive over to St. Lawrence County to pay him homage and ask for his endorsement? Really what part did Brian Mann and NCPR have in setting up this new political force in the North Country by giving Hassig early and positive coverage? Other media outlets were writing him off calling him crazy.

  14. tootightmike says:

    Indeed it would be a hoot if Owens were unseated by a whirling dervish, and even more ironic to have Doheny win his seat by the hand of those who probably distrust him the most.
    Personally, I find it impossible that these two candidates are nearly tied in this election. Owens is well known, pretty well liked, an effective representative, and moderate. Doheny is just some guy that the national Republican Party has put up to take another seat. He has no useful history, no track record as an elected anything, no opinions, and no plans…except to keep his nose clean, follow party orders, vote with the herd, and wait for his turn to run for a VP spot someday.

  15. tootightmike says:

    Oh, and Mervel….Hassig IS crazy. If you haven’t met him in person, I suggest you do.

  16. Mervel says:

    I have met him briefly at an event where he was speaking (it was a Green event).

    I can’t make any sort of clinical judgement about him from that, but we have not heard the last of him, just wait until he gets his brother involved again! However I would probably lean towards the crazy label for him in the general sense of the word, but then again that can be a good thing, at least for me who enjoys something a little different.

  17. “But wait, if Hassig takes 10% of the vote that will likely come from Owens!”

    Because so many Democrats support the idea of storm troopers invading local farms to round up Mexicans?

  18. mervel says:

    Well now he certainly uses a little hyperbolic language now and then, but without a large advertising budget this is the way to get publicity. But if the race really is tied, even if he gets 1% or less he may swing the results.

    Brian at the beginning of the campaign touted a “fascinating” interview with Hassig, by NCPR, this basically gave him some legitimacy in the North Country outside of his community (maybe some background research would have helped Brian, but hey I am not a journalist) and may end up giving him the 1% he needs to swing the vote to Doheny, it will be interesting. Who knew dance combined with being arrested would work as a strategy!

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