Several Conservative and Republican party leaders and committees endorsed Matt Doheny for Congress today, amid speculation about last-minute interlopers in NY-23.
The acting Conservative Party chairman and the Republican Party chairman in Essex County, the Fulton County GOP committee and the Oswego County Conservative Party committee, gave Mr. Doheny the nod Tuesday.
Bill McGahay, the acting Conservative chair in Essex, and Ron Jackson, the GOP chair in Essex, issued a joint statement on the race to take on Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh.
“Republicans and Conservatives must stand together, united behind one candidate who has the knowledge, the experience and the resources to defeat Bill Owens in November,” Mr. Jackson said.
The Conservative Party in Essex County isn't constituted, but the state chairman said he'll take the opinions of acting heads into account, too. The Essex County GOP meets March 21 to make its full committee endorsement.
It's sort of the trend in politics to discount the effect of endorsements, but these are actually pretty important when you're talking about getting on the ballot. Candidates will need to collect signatures for petitions in a compressed time frame. The committee foot soldiers are willing and able to carry that out.
Plus, the Conservative Party's endorsement, via its state chairman, will be based on the opinions of these disparate committees.
But what if the unexpected happens? The State of Politics blog reported earlier today that Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long would "give serious consideration if (Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle) desires to run in another district."
Ms. Buerkle, R-Onondaga Hill, is the most conservative member of New York's House delegation, and has a lot of cred in the anti-abortion movement. But she'd have a tough time running in NY-25 if Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans have their way; they proposed adding liberal Tompkins County to her district.
That other district she could run in could be NY-23, just to the north.
But as the clock ticks, and Mr. Doheny continues to rack up endorsements, things could get more and more complicated for the folks on the right, especially if Doug Hoffman, a Lake Placid accountant, jumps in for a third time.
The endorsements that Mr. Doheny rolled out today, incidentally, head their respective parties in two of his potential opponents' home turfs: Mr. Hoffman lives in Essex County and Kellie Greene is an Oswego native.
In the current congressional district, there are four Conservative Party committees. Mr. Doheny has won the endorsement of two of them — St. Lawrence and now, Oswego (Madison and Franklin remain).
"Matt is committed to conservative values and principles," said Len Schick, the Oswego County party chairman. "Matt committed to the Conservative Party that he’d have a 100 percent pro-life rating as a congressman. I think Matt’s been working hard over the past two years, since losing, to listen to the people in New York 23 and find out what the needs are."
Mr. Schick said that the committee thought Ms. Greene would make a good candidate someday.
"Given the two candidates, I believe they both can represent the Conservative Party well, but on the other hand, when you look at electability, who we feel is the most electable, obviously it goes without saying” that Mr. Doheny is more electable, Mr. Schick said.
Out of the nine committee members, one dissented, Mr. Schick said.
"We feel that Matt will be able to beat Bill Owens," Mr. Schick said. "That’s a key point."