Democratic Rep. Bill Owens and his likely Republican opponent are wooing top officials at the state Independence Party in an effort to secure the line in the 2012 race.
It’s the third-largest party by voter registration in the 23rd Congressional District, at 21,512 registered voters out of 389,614 total. Mr. Doheny ran on the Independence Party line in 2010. The imprimatur of a third-party line can deliver voters. Mr. Doheny won 6,591 of his 80,237 total votes as an Independence Party candidate. He lost by about 2,000 votes. Candidates on third-party lines can also act as spoilers for major-party candidates, like Douglas L. Hoffman, a Conservative Party candidate who earned 10,507 votes in that race that may have otherwise gone to Mr. Doheny.
On Aug. 2, Mr. Doheny was in Albany to meet with Thomas Connolly, a top official at the party. He has also donated $4,000 to Independence Party committees.
Mr. Owens has also had a meeting and a phone call with Independence Party officials.
So the Indies could make all the difference in the world in this race. But I'm also told that Mr. Doheny recently met with Conservative Party poobah Mike Long. Mr. Long's blessing could be a make-or-break for Mr. Doheny. It certainly broke him in 2010, and broke Dede Scozzafava in 2009.