Monday, October 11, 2010

Chris Morris: Election 2010 Update

Happy Monday, folks. Here’s a recap of recent political news in the Adirondack North Country — as well as a quick look ahead.

Saranac Lake accountant Doug Hoffman is, as you may have heard, out of the race for New York’s 23rd Congressional District. His decision to drop his third party run cleared the way for a two-way race between Watertown banker Matt Doheny and Democratic incumbent Bill Owens.

I don’t need to tell you that a two-way race dramatically shifts the GOP’s chances to take back a seat held by Republicans for more than a century. Politicos are predicting a close race — personally, I see Doheny gaining momentum, and fast.

The substantial enrollment edge for Republicans in NY-23, combined with strong anti-incumbent sentiments both here in New York and across the country, spell what I consider certain doom for Owens as he seeks his first full term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The outlook for this race wasn’t the only thing to shift dramatically following Hoffman’s exit — the overall tone of the campaign went negative pretty quickly.

That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Staring down a possible three-way race, Owens could afford to take the “high road” — which was apparent in a pair of early television ads.

But mere minutes after Hoffman left the race, Owens went into attack mode, firing shots at Doheny’s Wall Street past.

Since then, the two candidates have engaged each other through numerous attack ads, which Nathan Brown of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise characterized as “questionable.”

Fortunately, voters in the 23rd district won’t have to rely purely on TV adverts, as Owens and Doheny are slated to debate later this week. The event is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday on ABC50.

In other debate-related news, WNBZ and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise are hosting a debate at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake. The event features the three candidates gunning for New York’s 114th Assembly District: Republican incumbent Janet Duprey; Democrat Rudy Johnson; and Conservative David Kimmel.

A media panel consisting of myself, Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio, and Peter Crowley of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise will ask the questions.

In an effort to shed more light on some of the third party candidates running for office this fall, I’m excited to inform Almanack readers that I’ll be interviewing Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins on an up-coming edition of North Country Today. I’m still working out the details with his campaign staff — I’ll post a date for the program as soon as I have something set in stone.

That’s it for now; I’ll have more updates as the week progresses.

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Chris Morris lives in Saranac Lake and is communications manager at ACT, the community foundation of the Adirondacks. He has reported in the past for a variety of news outlets across the North Country, including the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, North Country Public Radio, and Denton Publications. His work has also appeared in the Adirondack Explorer and here at the Adirondack Almanack. He can be reached by email at

ACT, the Adirondack region’s community foundation, works to invest in a brighter future for the Adirondacks by inspiring philanthropy and community investment. Home to more than 220 charitable funds, ACT has awarded some $20 million in grants and scholarships in several broad categories, including education, environment, human well being, community vitality and culture. ACT is also leading a number of initiatives aimed at bolstering Adirondack communities and supporting nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit

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