Republican Matthew A. Doheny courted congressional power brokers in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday and Wednesday in his effort to unseat Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh.
The trip could help Mr. Doheny’s efforts at raising funds, hiring staffers and making sure that he is the only challenger to Mr. Owens’ re-election efforts in November 2012.
“They’re going to support me. It’s as simple as that,” Mr. Doheny said Saturday. “They understand that I’m the person, working hard, doing what we need to do to turn this district Republican again.”
Mr. Doheny said he had an individual meeting with Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, who heads the GOP’s campaign and fundraising arm for the House of Representatives. He also met with Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., the former chairman of the Republican Study Committee, described by Politico as the “conservative policy nerve center for the House GOP,” and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the House majority whip and No. 3 lawmaker in the House who was instrumental in the Republicans’ suuccessful efforts to retake the House of Representatives in 2010.
Mr. Doheny was not part of that GOP tidal wave in 2010, but his race was one of the 10 most competitive in the nation and he received support from Mr. McCarthy’s organizational efforts.
“They were very pleased I put my hat in the ring again,” Mr. Doheny said. “I’m a known quantity and have an understanding of the process.”
The last time Mr. Doheny visited Washington, D.C., in 2010, leaders were circumspect about supporting him because he was engaged in a primary battle with Douglas L. Hoffman.
This time, he said, the leaders reacted by saying, “Whatever we can do to help.” In addition to individual meetings, Mr. Doheny spoke to the entire GOP conference, including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
It’s still unclear whether Mr. Doheny will face a primary challenger. Mr. Hoffman appears unlikely to enter the race, and two individuals who flirted with the idea dropped out shortly after. The wild card is redistricting, the state’s process of redrawing its political boundaries, which could mean Mr. Doheny would be in the same district as a sitting Republican further downstate, though he said taht is unlikely.
“As we’ve talked many times before, there will be a north country district,” Mr. Doheny said. “I think everybody realizes that in Washington as well.”