Watertown businessman Matt Doheny will likely be on the Conservative line in this year's race for New York's new 21st Congressional District.
"I think just about all of the county leaders have gotten behind him," said Mike Long, chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State.
Doheny is a Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh. Owens currently represents the 23rd District, which will become the 21st starting next year.
(Enterprise file photo — Chris Morris)
Long told the Enterprise that when the Conservative Party's executive committee meets on April 19, "We'll officially make Doheny the official candidate on the Conservative Party line."
Owens won narrowly in 2010 due in large part to the fact that Lake Placid accountant Doug Hoffman had the Conservative line and attracted about 6 percent of the vote. Doheny believes that this time he can unite Republicans, Conservative and Independence Party voters.
Doheny has been racking up endorsements left and right. Republican committees in Franklin, Clinton, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Saratoga and St. Lawrence counties have publicly supported him; he also has backing from Conservative committees in Franklin, Madison, Oswego and St. Lawrence counties, although Madison and Oswego counties won't be in the new 21st District. (They are in the current 23rd.)
The state Independence Party and the Upstate New York Tea Party have also endorsed Doheny.
But Long stressed that the endorsements only go so far.
"Every election is a tough election," he said. "I think Mr. Doheny knows that, and that's why he's working as hard as he is. He knows this is not going to be a cakewalk. He must continue to work hard and gain the support of all of the taxpayers of the 21st Congressional District."
Long said the new district may improve Doheny's chances in the upcoming election, although he added, "You can't take anything for granted."
Kellie Greene, a conservative Republican candidate from Sackets Harbor, told the Enterprise she will meet with the Warren County Conservative Party Committee on Thursday. She said Doheny is the moderate in the race.
"I am a true conservative and my credentials are not in question," Greene said.
Greene has stated that Doheny's views on abortion aren't in line with traditional conservatism.
The Franklin County Republican Committee made its endorsement decision Tuesday. Jim Ellis, chairman of the committee, said in a press release Wednesday that his committee will "do whatever's necessary" to get Doheny elected. Ray Scollin, Republican state committeeman for Franklin County, said the committee backed Doheny "based on his experience, knowledge of the issues and record of reaching out to all the residents of our county."
Franklin County Conservative Party Chairman Bob White said in a prepared statement that Doheny will be an "effective advocate for Conservative causes."