Posts Tagged ‘23rd Congressional District’

Monday, June 6, 2011

Matt Doheny and the Non-Stop Campaign

Take a deep breath, folks. Now exhale.

I’m about to muse about the 2012 elections. And yes, I am fully aware that those elections aren’t happening until the next time we see an NFL team suit up and take the field (I’m already working under the assumption that there won’t be a season this fall – it helps, a little).

Watertown banker Matt Doheny made it known last week that he will run, again, for New York’s 23rd Congressional District. The seat is currently held by Democrat Bill Owens, and it’s starting to feel like Owens is defending his seat on a yearly basis.

Doheny gave Owens a run for his money last fall but fell short in the end – only a few thousand votes separated them.

Many political observers blamed Doheny’s loss on Saranac Lake accountant Doug Hoffman, who challenged him in the GOP primary and lost. Hoffman tried a third party bid on the Conservative line, but pulled out of the race weeks before the election.

Despite his decision to exit the race, more than 9,000 Hoffman supporters cast votes in his favor. It’s a crude way to do the math, but if you hand those votes to Doheny, he’s flying back and forth to Washington instead of Owens.

Doheny touts himself as a fiscal conservative, but was noticeably more moderate on social issues – perhaps explaining the lingering support for Hoffman on Election Day.

Hoffman had tea party support from the beginning, with hordes of volunteers teaming up with the Upstate New York Tea Party to pound the pavement across northern New York.

But after the primary, UNYTEA’s chairman, Mark Barie, endorsed Doheny, noting it was important to rally around one candidate. The rest of his organization was slow to follow suit, but in the end, most of the group got behind Doheny.

Following the election, there were two distinct lines up thought on the so-called “Hoffman effect.”

On one side, you had people like Jefferson County lawmaker Carolyn Fitzpatrick, a Republican:

“Matt didn’t lose this race. Doug Hoffman lost this race for the Republicans,” she said at the time. “I only wish that Doug Hoffman had come out, stood on stage and campaigned with Matt and said, ‘I support him.’ But that didn’t happen.”

On the other side, there were those who believed the Republican Party in NY-23 failed to roll out a candidate who represented the region’s conservatism. (Read more on the fallout/reaction from last year’s NY-23 race here and here).

And that GOP divide isn’t likely to go away next year.

In fact, looking at the results from a recent special election for a western New York House seat, the so-called “Hoffman effect” is alive and well in New York.

The national media reported Kathleen Hochul’s victory as a voter referendum on the GOP’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher-style program. Hochul, a Democrat, beat out Republican Jane Corwin in a fairly conservative district.

But the national media zeroed-in on the Medicare issue – in fact, a lot of reporting failed to mention Jack Davis, the tea party candidate, who most likely pulled votes away from Corwin.

Sound familiar?

Here’s what I’m wondering: is Doheny’s early announcement an attempt to rally the GOP and keep this a two-way race? Or is it just that, an early announcement for a candidate who wants to get the ball rolling?

Your thoughts are welcome.

Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that Jude Seymour is joining the Doheny camp. Seymour wrote a great political blog for the Watertown Daily Times (All Politics is Local) and is currently wrapping up at WWNY television.

Seymour will serve as deputy campaign manager and spokesman for Doheny.

Photo: Matt Doheny (Courtesy Doheny For Congress).


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2010 Elections: Statewide Third Parties, 23rd CD Update

I’ve got a few quick notes to pass along today.

For starters, I hope readers will take a look at some of the third party candidates running for state and federal office this fall.

Libertarian candidate Warren Redlich and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins both submitted the mandatory minimum of 15,000 signatures to appear on the ballot in November.

As governor, Redlich says he’d stop wasting money and cut spending. He’d also cap bureaucrat’s salaries at $100,000.

Meanwhile, Hawkins is espousing the merits of a living wage for all New Yorkers. He also wants to see a greater investment in renewable energy and a ban on proposed hydrofracking as it relates to natural gas drilling.

Also running on the Libertarian line this fall is Manhattan attorney Carl Person. He’ll challenge a crowded slate of candidates angling for the attorney general’s seat.

Randy Credico and John Clifton have been tapped by the Libertarians to challenge U.S. Senate incumbents Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Both men oppose drug prohibition and support open immigration.

The Green Party has a couple candidates running in those senate races, too. Colia Clark will take on Schumer and Cecile Lawrence will run against Gillibrand.

Meanwhile, in New York’s 23rd Congressional District, Saranac Lake accountant Doug Hoffman picked up an endorsement from the National Defense Political Action Committee.

Here’s Hoffman’s response to the endorsement:

“As a veteran myself, who trained at Fort Drum, I understand our nations need to be eternally vigilant in this age of global terror,” he said. “On land, sea, and in the air, our troops must be the best equipped and most professionally trained fighting force in the world. We owe this to those who serve and to those they protect. As a Congressman I will stand shoulder to shoulder with the National Defense PAC as we work to achieve these goals for our nation, our military, our veterans and their families.”

Also, Matt Doheny was on the campaign trail all weekend long. Check out Jude Seymour’s coverage here.

Finally, the chairman of the Upstate New York Tea Party is expecting a large turnout for the Sept. 1 debate in Plattsburgh.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Doheny to Hoffman: “Let’s debate”

It looks like Matt Doheny is ready for action.

The Watertown businessman and Republican candidate in this fall’s 23rd Congressional District election wants to debate Doug Hoffman before the September 14 primary.

Doheny doesn’t want one debate, either – he wants 11, one for each county in the district.

“This is a critical election year,” Doheny wrote in a letter sent to Hoffman. “Republicans, indeed all the people in the North Country, the Adirondack region and central New York deserve to hear from both of us as we discuss and debate the issues, so they can make the best decision on Election Day.”

Doheny has locked-up endorsements from nine out of the 11 county GOP committees; the remaining two have opted to not endorse a candidate.

Hoffman has Conservative Party support and is being backed by the Upstate New York Tea Party (UNYTEA).

Both men are gunning for the seat currently held by Congressman Bill Owens, a Democrat from Plattsburgh.

Hoffman’s spokesman, Rob Ryan, said the candidate welcomes the opportunity to debate Matt Doheny.

“It will be interesting to discuss job creation in the North Country, cutting waste and the size of federal government in Washington and Mr. Doheny’s strong support of his liberal friend, Dede Scozzafava, in last November’s election,” he said.

Illustration: Doug Hoffman’s concession speech last November by Almanack contributor Mark Wilson.


Monday, April 5, 2010

League of Conservation Voters’ 2009 Environmental Scorecard

New York’s congressional delegation ranks sixth in the nation for its votes on key clean energy and environmental legislation according to the the national League of Conservations Voters’ 2009 National Environmental Scorecard. For 30 years, the National Environmental Scorecard has been used to rate members of Congress on environmental, public health and energy issues.

The 2009 Scorecard includes 11 Senate and 13 House votes dominated by clean energy and climate but also encompassing other environmental issues such as public lands, water and wildlife conservation. In New York, 20 House members and both senators earned a perfect 100 percent score in 2009 – more than two thirds of the delegation. U.S. Rep. Chris Lee, representing the 26th District in Western New York, had the lowest score in the state, at 14 percent. New York’s average House score was 88 percent, up from 81 percent last year. New York’s average House score ranked sixth in the U.S. Scott Murphy of the 20th Congressional District earned a score of 88; John McHugh (previously of the 23rd CD) scored 67 with his congressional replacement Bill Owens garnering 100 percent so far.

The New York delegation scores are as follows. The full 2009 National Environmental Scorecard can be found at www.lcv.org/scorecard.

Bishop, T. (D ) — 100
Israel (D ) — 100
King, P. (R ) — 36
McCarthy, C. (D ) — 93
Ackerman (D )– 100
Meeks, G. (D ) — 100
Crowley (D ) — 100
Nadler (D ) — 100
Weiner (D ) — 86
Towns (D ) — 100
Clarke (D ) — 100
Velazquez (D ) — 93
McMahon (D ) — 100
Maloney (D ) — 100
Rangel (D ) — 100
Serrano (D ) — 100
Engel (D ) — 93
Lowey (D ) — 100
Hall, J. (D ) — 100
Murphy, S. (D ) — 88
Tonko (D ) — 100
Hinchey (D ) — 100
McHugh (R ) — 67
Owens (D ) — 100
Arcuri (D ) — 86
Maffei (D ) — 100
Lee, C. (R ) — 14
Higgins (D ) — 100
Slaughter (D ) — 100
Massa (D ) — 86


Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 2009 Adirondack Year in Cartoons (Part 1)

After eight years of wars, terror warnings, environmental destruction, corporate and political corruption, and general cultural excess ending in a systematic collapse of the country’s financial system, 2009 opened on more than a few notes of remorse, albeit with unmistakable chords of optimism and hope for new beginnings and a new president. His list was long. (click the cartoons for larger images.)


The first order of business for the Obama administration was to continue flooding the wrecked economy with massive stimulus programs courtesy of generations yet unborn.
Some of the stimulus money eventually trickled to the north country via Albany.

Politically, it was a year of cascading dominoes, initiated in Washington and winding up inside the blue line. After Hillary Clinton upgraded her senate seat for first class in the State Department, Governor Paterson chose Kirsten Gillibrand from the 20th congressional district as New York’s junior senator. That move set off a battle for the once-reliable GOP house seat in a race between a conservative Democrat from Glens Falls, New York’s Assembly Minority Leader (visiting from a neighboring district), and a third party candidate. On April Fools’ Day—the morning after the election—the narrowest of margins for Democrat Scott Murphy triggered a recount battle that carried through Tax Day, past Passover, beyond Easter to the end of April when Republican James Tedisco finally conceded.

By the time Murphy took the oath of office, much of the stimulus pork was gone, replaced by swine flu.

Following the special election in the 20th, A similar chain reaction was prompted in NY’s 23rd CD after moderate Republican Congressman John McHugh was promoted to Army Secretary.

GOP leaders, eager to avoid a repeat of mistakes which led to defeat in the 20th, opted against importing a high-profile male candidate from a neighboring district, in favor of a home-grown moderate female candidate. Conservatives in the party (and Glenn Beck) had other plans, ultimately replacing Republican Dede Scozzafava with a high-profile male candidate from a neighboring district. With predictable results.

Still, for a region at the receiving end of impending federal and state budget cuts, the warmth of the national media spotlight was a memory to cherish.

Check back at 10:00 AM today for the second half of the 2009 Adirondack year in cartoons.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Election Day Sketchpad 7: Hoffman Concedes

Doug Hoffman conceded at 12:10 a.m., thanking “every single person out there who joined my team and fought for America. This was the biggest hill I’ve ever faced, and I’m a 46er, so I’ve faced plenty of them.”

The crowd at the Hotel Saranac had thinned but was enthusiastic, especially when the Conservative talked about an unlikely campaign that grew into a phenomenon. They cheered lines like, “We have to remember that a government that serves us everything takes away our freedoms.”

“We gotta fight back!’” members of the audience yelled. And they might, in a year, but Hoffman did not get into that tonight.

Hoffman said he called to congratulate Congressman Elect Bill Owens, who will be the first non-Republican to represent the district since the 1850s, and offered to help him to bring jobs to the area. “Let’s work with him together, but let’s make sure we get the message out there: we can’t spend money we don’t have.”

He closed with, “You don’t have to be polished, you don’t have to be poised, you don’t have to be a rock star to be a politician, so let’s all step up to the plate.”


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Election Day Sketchpad 6


11:00. High hopes of Hoffman supporters have been eroding all evening. Campaign spokesman Rob Ryan has had to alter his vision from sprint to marathon, as the campaigns prepare to unleash the lawyers.

There is much talk about absentee ballots. Campaign staff say they might have to spend the night at Hotel Saranac and get results tomorrow, if then. Hangers on wait for an appearance by Doug Hoffman that they expect will be neither concession nor victory speech.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election Day Sketchpad 5


9:30. Fox News talent waiting to go live.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election Day Sketchpad 4


Hotel Saranac. Hoffman HQ. TV outlets have been jockeying for preferred tripod positions on the press platform all afternoon. By 7:30 all the good spots are claimed.

. . . At 10:19 p.m. all those here who had said the race would be declared by 10 watch the TV quietly as Owens leads slightly in early returns. The candidate made a brief appearance in the lobby at 9:35, after a live interview with Sean Hannity, then went back to a room upstairs.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election Day Sketchpad 3


Lunchtime. In an act of symbolic aggression, Democrat Bill Owens orders tea in the backyard of Conservative Doug Hoffman.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election Day Sketchpad

Check in throughout the day for scenes from NY-23 in Saranac Lake.

On what was supposed to be a sleepy off-year election day, many counties across upstate New York’s 23rd congressional district rolled out new optical scan voting machines. A considerable departure from the old gray crank and ratchet machines that looked like something some glacier deposited in the town hall countless millennia ago, the new models are squat, lusterless black, cyclopsed affairs that look like the dog that ate your homework in second grade. Like that dog, these don’t appear to give receipts either, according to the poll watchers.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election Day in the North Country

And the focus of the national media focuses on the mythic character of the region. . .


Sunday, November 1, 2009

23rd CD Web Watch: Friend for a Day

Over the course of an eventful weekend in New York’s 23rd CD, Lake Placid resident and congressional aspirant Douglas Hoffman showed the flexibility of a skilled politician in declaring two significantly disparate feelings for his former Republican rival. On Saturday, Hoffman’s website displayed a heartfelt tribute to Dede Scozzafava.
Sunday brought a new week, a new month, a new clock setting, and a new emotion from the Conservative Party Candidate (click right image to enlarge)


Sunday, November 1, 2009

23rd CD: Scozzafava Endorses Democrat Bill Owens

In a last minute move Republican Candidate Dede Scozzafava, who only yesterday withdrew from Tuesday’s election for the 23rd Congressional District, has announced that she is throwing her support to her Democratic opponent, Bill Owens. Scozzafava withdrew after garnering only 20 percent in the latest poll—she has said that she does not have the money to wage the all-out media effort required to close the gap. In endorsing Owens over Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, Scozzafava cited the Democrat’s independence.

“I have been always been an independent voice for the people I represent,” Scozzafava wrote to her supporters today. “I have stood for our honest principles, and a truthful discussion of the issues, even when it cost me personally and politically. Since beginning my campaign, I have told you that this election is not about me; it’s about the people of this District. It is in this spirit that I am writing to let you know I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same.”

Following Scozzafava’s withdrawal on Saturday the National Republican Congressional Committee, who had backed Scozzafava, announced that it would put it’s full efforts behind Doug Hoffman.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Analysis: October Surprise in the 23rd Congressional District Race

On Saturday, when Dede Scozzafava’s campaign bus turned into a pumpkin, it came as a shock but not a surprise to North Country political observers. The unpredictable five-month, three-party campaign to fill the vacated House seat of Army Secretary John McHugh was elevated in its early stages to a war of surrogates for political forces both at the state and national levels, according to a close observer of New York GOP politics.

The source—speaking on background—said Scozzafava’s attempts to court organized labor (specifically her support for the Employees’ Free Choice Act) was responsible more than any other issue for attracting the political action committee Club for Growth to the campaign of Conservative Party candidate Douglas Hoffman. The money and advertisements that followed “put Dede in a position where she never had a chance to define herself.”

Former Democratic Rural Conference Chairman Stuart Brody, who lost a bid to become his party’s nominee in this election, agrees that outside attention and campaign contributions had a distorting effect on the race: “Money often obscures the message.”

While the National Republican Congressional Committee (which took charge of the Scozzafava campaign in September) was framing the contest as a referendum on Democratic policies and leadership in Washington, and the conservative media were building the Hoffman campaign into a referendum on both Democrats and centrist Republicans, New York State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long was using the insurgent Hoffman campaign to bend the State GOP ideologically to the right. “Mike Long feels he has something to prove,” according to the Republican Party observer.

And if Thursday’s defection to Hoffman’s camp of former Governor George Pataki notched a victory for the Conservative Party leader, Stuart Brody believes that “what Mike Long thinks means nothing. . . . Ultimately, the North Country is moderate. Folks think for themselves.”

Asked how he sees Scozzafava’s withdrawal effecting Tuesday’s result, Brody departs from the conventional wisdom that Hoffman will benefit. In step with his faith in the independent mindset of the North Country electorate, he feels that a portion of Scozzafava supporters, particularly those driven by organized labor interests, will find their way to Democrat Bill Owens.

Our Republican Party observer points out that it may be too late for the move to produce a large-scale change, citing the layout of the ballots on which Bill Owens holds line A, followed by Scozzafava on lines B and C, followed by Doug Hoffman on line D.

As for Wednesday, the lack of a Republican candidate does not guarantee any less intense an effort to impound and count and recount the ballots. With so much at stake from every angle, a close outcome at the polls will assuredly give way to a recount phase as long as (and exceeding the cost of) the campaign itself. Ask any of your next door neighbors of NY-20.

And the day after a victor finally emerges? The seat will be up for grabs again in less than a year; a mid-term election is already well under way in most districts. Former candidate Stuart Brody anticipates that a Democratic winner will be immediately challenged by Republicans. In the event of a Hoffman victory, Brody expects that a number of Democrats will step forward to challenge the Conservative—a number which may include himself.



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