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Third time doesn’t charm Hoffman

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Douglas L. Hoffman won’t make a third run for Congress, he said late Friday afternoon.

The Conservative Party’s candidate in 2009 and 2010, Mr. Hoffman had been mulling another try at defeating Rep. William L. Owens in November, but decided to focus on a race for Assembly in the 114th District.

“I announced (Thursday) night at the Essex County Republican meeting that I will not be running for Congress this year and will devote my full efforts as an Assemblyman candidate for the new 114th District,” he said in an email to the Times and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

The decision ends a tumultuous chapter in north country politics and is a boost to the campaign of Watertown Republican Matthew A. Doheny, who is trying to unify the right against Mr. Owens, D-Plattsburgh.

Typically, the Republican and Conservative candidates are the same person. But in a 2009 special election, the Conservative Party deemed Republican Dierdre K. Scozzafava too liberal for its tastes, so it gave Mr. Hoffman its line.

Ms. Scozzafava dropped out and endorsed Mr. Owens, who went on to turn the district blue for the first time since the Civil War era.

In 2010, history repeated with a bifurcated right. Mr. Hoffman had the Conservative Party line, but narrowly lost a Republican primary to Mr. Doheny. Both men were on the ballot, even after Mr. Hoffman dropped out and tepidly endorsed Mr. Doheny. Mr. Owens won again.

Mr. Hoffman’s congressional candidacy was a long shot, but he told reporters and supporters until Thursday that he was considering getting back in the race.

He faced several hurdles to a third attempt. His congressional campaign is still carrying debt.

And Mr. Doheny has secured the support of many grass-roots conservatives in the district who have buttressed Mr. Hoffman’s candidacies before. Mr. Hoffman’s revelation came on the same day that the Upstate New York Tea Party, pivotal to Mr. Hoffman’s efforts at getting on the Republican ballot in 2010, endorsed Mr. Doheny.

Representatives for Mr. Doheny and Mr. Owens did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Hoffman, Lake Placid, is one of several Republicans running for the Assembly seat being vacated by Assemblywoman Teresa R. Sayward, R-Willsboro.

Kellie Greene, a Republican of Sackets Harbor, is also running for the Republican and Conservative nominations.

Provided both candidates gain the required signatures, a Republican primary will be held June 26.

Michael R. Long, the Conservative Party chairman, will decide who gets his party’s line while taking into account the input of local party leaders; three committees have recommended Mr. Doheny.

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