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Conservative chair: Doheny will be party’s pick

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Matthew A. Doheny will be the Conservative Party’s standard-bearer in his effort to unseat Democratic Rep. William L. Owens in November, the party’s top official said.

Michael R. Long, the state Conservative Party chairman, said Wednesday that Mr. Doheny, a Republican, will also be on the Conservative Party line.

“On the basis of what I’ve been hearing, Matt Doheny will be authorized to be the candidate of the Conservative Party,” Mr. Long said.

Conservative Party leaders in St. Lawrence and Franklin counties, which are in the new 21st Congressional District, have endorsed Mr. Doheny for Congress. Oswego and Madison counties were in the old district, but committees there gave Mr. Doheny the nod all the same.

Mr. Doheny also won the endorsement of the state Independence Party.

On the campaign trail and in conversations with reporters, Mr. Doheny usually manages to mention three letters: R, I, and C. The I and the C — Independence and Conservative — have now been locked down. A Republican primary June 26 is all that stands in the way of a trifecta.

Kellie Greene, a Sackets Harbor resident, is collecting signatures on petitions to force a Republican primary. She was also vying for the Conservative Party nod.

Mr. Doheny, too, must collect petition signatures, even for the lines for which he has been endorsed explicitly.

It’s an expected yet significant development for the campaign of Mr. Doheny, a Watertown businessman.

In 2009 and 2010, the Conservative Party and Republican Party didn’t have the same candidates. That split the right and helped deliver the historically GOP district to Mr. Owens.

Mr. Doheny couldn’t get the nod in 2010 for a couple of reasons, but probably the biggest one was a sense of loyalty to Douglas L. Hoffman, a Lake Placid accountant who ran on the party’s line in 2009 and 2010. But he isn’t in the race this time around, opting instead to run for state Assembly.

Also, Mr. Doheny gave a maximum donation to Republican Dierdre K. Scozzafava, who dropped out of the 2009 race and endorsed Mr. Owens in the face of a brutal campaign that played out nationally.

Another factor militating against Conservative support is Mr. Doheny’s support for abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy, though he says he’ll have a “100 percent pro-life” voting record in Congress.

“I think he has shown the energy and the tenacity to continue to work and communicate and talk to the leaders of the party, and show them a clear willingness that he most sincerely wants to represent the people of that district,” Mr. Long said. “His check to Dede is a chapter that is closed. From my perspective, I’m pro-life. There will be differences, there will always will be differences. But I do believe he will not be trying to promote an agenda for abortion.”

The Conservative Party will make it official at the party’s April 19 executive committee meeting, Mr. Long said.

“I don’t see anything standing in the way,” Mr. Long said.

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