North Country Native Matt Doheny Picks Up Local Endorsements in Race for Congress
Until recently, it was all but certain that the race to represent the Adirondack region in the US House of Representatives would be a contest between two major party candidates with equally tenuous ties to the area.
The Republican chairmen of ten of the eleven counties that comprise the 21st Congressional District endorsed Elise Stefanik, a young woman from the Albany suburbs whose family has a summer cottage on Lake Champlain.
A week later, the Democratic chairmen announced that their choice was Aaron Woolf, a documentary filmmaker from Brooklyn with a house in Elizabethtown.
Paul Maroun, the Mayor of Tupper Lake, said the possibility of a race between two flatlanders “gnawed at me like a tooth ache,” and began laying the groundwork for his own candidacy, believing that he could defeat Stefanik in a primary.
But if Matt Doheny agreed to run, he would drop out and endorse him, Maroun said.
Matt Doheny is the Alexandria Bay native who was the Republican candidate in the 2012 Congressional election, which happened to be one of the nation’s closest House races that year. Incumbent Bill Owens won by 1.9 percent in a district that President Barack Obama carried by 6.1 percent.
Doheny was, in fact, considering another run for the seat. Weighting the scales toward a decision to become a candidate was a poll conducted by Neil Newhouse, Mitt Romney’s pollster, that indicated that Doheny could defeat Stefanik in a primary by a wide margin.
Moreover, Doheny said, “Strangers stopped me in the grocery store and at the gas station and urged me to run again. That was very humbling. Several friends I met on the campaign trail called and offered an encouraging word.”
Doheny said that he was also gratified by expressions of support from party leaders, elected officials and local newspapers.
On February 19, Doheny announced that he is a candidate for the Republican, Independence and Conservative parties’ nominations.
If he secures those nominations, he will oppose Democrat Aaron Woolf in November.
Doheny has won the endorsement of the Independence Party and is collecting endorsements from the Conservative Party’s county committees. Warren, Washington, Herkimer and Saratoga Counties’ Conservative Party committees endorsed him last week. He will face Elise Stefanik in a Republican primary in June.
“I welcome a primary; we shouldn’t keep candidates from running for office,” said Ron Conover, the Supervisor of Bolton and a member of the Warren County Republican Committee. “Matt Doheny knows the district and he’s a wonderful candidate.”
According to Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson, a primary is necessary because the Warren County Republican Committee endorsed Elise Stefanik prematurely.
“I don’t know why the Committee didn’t wait until the dust had settled after the incumbent, Bill Owens, announced he was retiring and other candidates had a chance to come forward,” said Dickinson.
Dennis Dickinson has endorsed Doheny.
“I’ve always believed that people who are native to the area should be the first to be supported,” said Dickinson. “Being from the community is a great asset. Your attachment to the area is life-long and you already know the issues. You don’t need a tutor. That’s why Matt Doheny is the better choice for our district.”
Bolton’s Conover has also endorsed Doheny.
“Matt Doheny is someone we know and who knows us and our issues. He’ll be a terrific representative of this district,” said Conover.
Doheny argues that in addition to his background in business and experience campaigning across the district, his North Country roots are among his qualifications for office.
“I have roots in the district, and that’s definitely an advantage,” said Doheny. “I’ve not only visited every town in the district, I know the elected officials and I know what their concerns are.
“Take Lake George as an example. Growing up in Alexandria Bay, I have first hand knowledge of what drives the economies of towns like Lake George and Bolton. It’s tourism and recreation. And the economy depends upon maintaining this beautiful lake.”
Doheny continued, “My education about the North Country began while I was still in high school, playing hockey against every team from Plattsburgh to Watertown. I grew up with the North Country values instilled within me by my parents, including the value of hard work.”
Doheny earned a law degree at Cornell University and practiced law before entering business. In 2010, he started his own business, North Country Capital LLC, which is based in Watertown.
“I’ve made a career out of finding ways to create growth opportunities, turn troubled companies around, balance budgets and protect American jobs,” said Doheny. “I want to apply that expertise to the problems facing Congress, while helping my community attract good-paying jobs.”
Doheny, who’s married and the father of a young son, said his attachment to the North Country is a permanent one.
“This will be my home for the rest of my life; and I’m committed to helping the next generation – including my seven-month-old son, Declan – follow its dreams right here at home,” said Doheny.