One candidate in the race for New York's new 21st Congressional District is pleased with the results from a Siena Research Institute poll released earlier this week, and it's not the man with the 13-point lead.
Green Party candidate Don Hassig told the Enterprise that he's "thrilled" with his standing in the latest Siena poll, which has 6 percent of those polled favoring him. He trails U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, and Watertown businessman Matt Doheny, a Republican, by a margin of 49-36-6, respectively. The poll said 8 percent of voters remain undecided.
Hassig said the Siena poll proves his campaign efforts are paying off. He cited a previous poll by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that had him at 4 percent earlier last month.
Green Party candidate Don Hassig talks at a recent campaign stop in Saranac Lake.
(Enterprise file photo — Chris Morris)
The Colton resident said he thinks he can finish third on Nov. 6 with 10 percent of the vote. He said that would send a strong message to the North Country that a third party candidate can have a meaningful impact on an election.
"It's clear from this that the people want good jobs and a good environment," Hassig said. "There's no doubt that Americans want to have a good, healthy environment. Who wants a good job - what are you going to do with your money - if you're sick? Spend it on doctors? Nobody wants to waste their money that way.
"There's no doubt in my mind that we in America, with all our ingenuity, all of our huge country, all our good people - we can have good jobs and a healthy environment."
Hassig said he wants to build a stronger Green Party presence in the North Country because he thinks voters are fed up with Democrats and Republicans. He said a strong showing on Nov. 6 could help the party grow.
Hassig said he's spoken to Green Party members in population centers like Watertown and Plattsburgh, and in communities like Canton and Potsdam that have large student populations. But he said smaller communities like Keene and Jay are also getting involved. He noted that those communities have recently hosted progressive gatherings like an Occupy Wall Street event and a climate change rally.
In 2009 and 2010, the presence of a third party candidate in the race for New York's 23rd Congressional District - Conservative Doug Hoffman in both cases - may have swayed the final results on Election Day. Hassig said he's not worried about how his presence on the ballot will affect the other candidates.
"I would think that everybody that was thinking politics and the 21st CD, they would think, 'Wow, the Green Party is here to stay,'" he said. "The Green Party will certainly not fail to maintain a role from now on. What's going to happen once they get to 15 percent? They could win."
Contact Chris Morris at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.