The race for New York’s 23rd Congressional District seat got some much-needed clarity yesterday, with Watertown businessman Matt Doheny officially winning the Republican primary.
As of Thursday afternoon, Doheny held a 743-vote lead over Saranac Lake accountant Doug Hoffman with just 394 absentee ballots left to be counted.
Hoffman has officially conceded the GOP primary, congratulating Doheny on his victory. Hoffman says he’ll remain in the race on the Conservative line.
Doheny had the support of 11 county GOP committees and the endorsement of the Independence Party.
He now heads into what is sure to be a contentious three-way race with Hoffman and Democratic incumbent Bill Owens, who won the seat last year in a special election.
Doheny toured the district Thursday to announce his victory. He spoke with WNBZ in a phone interview yesterday afternoon.
“Number one, we want to thank all of our supporters,” he said. “I’m humble that as a first-time candidate, the voters would pick me to put this district back into Republican and Conservative hands.”
Doheny says Hoffman’s decision to remain in the race won’t affect his campaign. He says it’s disappointing that Hoffman isn’t honoring the wishes of voters across the district.
“I think everyone realizes that I’m the only candidate that can unite Republicans, Conservatives and Independents,” Doheny said. “I will be the candidate and the winner on Nov. 2 no matter what the ballot looks like.”
In the coming weeks, Doheny says his campaign will continue traveling the district and spreading his message of fiscal conservatism and job growth.
“Every day we have an action-packed schedule and unfortunately there’s only 24 hours in a day,” he said. “We’re trying to maximize our message to voters that not only am I the right candidate, but that I’ll be the hardest working congressman the district has ever had.”
Democratic incumbent Bill Owens says a three-way race has no impact on his campaign strategy.
“My view, as it was last year during the special election, is that I need to get out there, talk to people and travel the district,” he said. “What I’m hearing is that people are worried about job creation and fiscal responsibility. The structure of the race has no impact on that. Those are just the things that the people of the district are concerned about.”
The general election takes place Nov. 2.