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Doheny’s first month of fundraising brings in $306K

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A Republican challenger for the north country’s congressional seat raised a hefty sum in his first month of active fundraising.

“You’ll be hard-pressed to find many House candidates that post better numbers for the quarter than these,” said Jude R. Seymour, a spokesman for Watertown businessman Matthew A. Doheny, in an email message. “And Matt did almost all of his fundraising after Nov. 30 — so he got it done in a month’s time.”

Mr. Doheny raised about $306,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011, and spent only $33,196. He had $316,132 cash on hand at the end of the cycle.

Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, whom Mr. Doheny is likely to challenge in November, has not reported his fourth-quarter results yet. Mr. Owens raised about $167,000 in the third quarter of 2011, and had about $400,000 cash on hand.

While Mr. Owens has relied on money from political-action committees — with 52 percent of his donations coming from PACs — Mr. Doheny has relied on wealthy individual donors. The campaign finance coffers of both candidates reflect the fact that their rural district does not have deep pockets of its own.

The average donation to Mr. Doheny totaled slightly more than $2,200. The maximum amount that an individual can contribute is $2,500.

Only two of the donors live in the 23rd Congressional District.

Mr. Doheny’s campaign said the fundraising effort would pivot soon to include in-district fundraisers. The first wave of donors was Mr. Doheny’s friends and associates in the business world.

“Obviously, Matt has friends and business contacts that are everywhere,” Mr. Seymour said of the wide geographical spread of the donors. “When he needed to start fundraising, he reached out to his core group of people.”

Harry J. Wilson, a Republican with ties to the GOP on Wall Street and in Washington, heads a 50-member fundraising team for the campaign. While the campaign hasn’t said who those 50 people are, Mr. Seymour said many of them were donors.

The campaign was clearly pleased with its haul. It released the results on Thursday, earlier than it had to, and trumpeted the results in a news release to members of the media.

Kellie Greene, an Oswego County native who moved to Sackets Harbor from Arizona with the express intent of taking on Mr. Doheny in a primary, has not released her fundraising numbers, either. Her supporters in Arizona held a fundraiser for her there.

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