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Stefanik raises $268,000 in first quarter; Doheny enters battle with state Conservative Party

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Elise M. Stefanik today released campaign finance records due Tuesday at the Federal Elections Commission that show her campaign raised more than $268,000 during the first quarter of 2014.

That brings her campaign total to $524,000 since she entered the race last August.

The report will also show cash-on-hand of more than $350,000. This is all before Ms. Stefanik is even the Republican candidate for the position, since she will face Watertown’s Matthew A. Doheny in a June 24 primary.

Ms. Stefanik lauded her supporters for putting their money where there political hearts are.

“I’m so thankful for the support and encouragement we’ve received since the beginning of the year. As more and more voters in the 21st District hear our message, they agree and are enthusiastically supporting our campaign,” Ms. Stefanik is quoted in a campaign news release. “This past financial quarter was our best because our message is resonating far and wide, and voters in the 21st agree we need fresh energy, new ideas and new leadership in Congress.”

The release cites the quarter filing as showing a campaign record for number of 21st District donors, individual donations received from every county in the district, a record for total individual donations and financial support from women in Congress, including Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., the highest ranking woman in the House of Representatives.

The amount of money Ms. Stefanik has raised in the quarter is a strong psychological boost, as well as a financial one. There will be pressure on Mr. Doheny to show respectable numbers as well. And this level of fundraising could embolden Ms. Stefanik to stay in the race on the Conservative Party line should she lose the Republican primary.

— PLW

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Last week’s announcement by the state Conservative Party that they would endorse Ms. Stefanik for the party line in November’s 21st CD race has brought an angry response from Mr. Doheny, who blasted the party executive committee for ignoring party leaders in the 21st CD, many of whom have endorsed the Watertown Republican’s candidacy.

He also responded today to a story in the Glens Falls Post Star that quoted state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long as saying the party’s executive committee would “rather see Mr. Doheny not run, so there’s a better chance of winning the general election.”

The Doheny campaign alluded to one of the most famous quotes from World War II, when Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe responded to a written request from German General Luttwitz for his surrender during the Siege of Bastogne, part of the larger Battle of the Bulge campaign. His famous one-word reply was “NUTS!”

On Monday, Mr. Doheny said “Nuts!” to Mr. Long.

“Matt Doheny proudly carried the Conservative Party banner in 2012, is endorsed by five county committees and in 2014 one of every five conservatives throughout the district signed his petition. Matt is a true conservative philosophically, on the issues and most importantly in the hearts and minds of the people of the North Country,” the news release said.

Saying that Mr. Long was working on behalf of “Washington insiders”, the candidate fired back.

“Essentially, Long on behalf of the Washington insiders who want to control this seat, was asking Doheny to surrender - to which we offer the following reply: to Chairman Mike Long: Nuts! North Country Conservative, Matt Doheny.”

Mr. Doheny, although he didn’t refer to it in his statement of Friday, can’t help but be thinking about the 2010 race, when the Conservative Party endorsement siphoned off 10,500 votes for endorsed candidate Douglas Hoffman in a race Doheny lost by fewer than 2,000 votes. Another split ticket would certainly enhance the chances of likely Democratic Party nominee Aaron G. Woolf.

The Times is pursuing comments from Mr. Long and Ms. Stefanik about whether it is likely Ms. Stefanik will step aside if Mr. Doheny wins the Republican primary. (Numbers from 2010 revised courtesy Jude Seymour, who remembers such things.)

— PLW

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The Snirt Run hit Lewis County over the weekend, and Mr. Doheny was there to shake some hands and kiss some babies. He put out a release Saturday that praised the congregation and criticized one of the state’s prominent environmental groups.

“It’s disappointing that The Adirondack Council, which has an adverse impact on private property rights inside the Park, now wants to extend its influence outside the Park,” Mr. Doheny said in the release. “Residents of the North Country have grown tired of outsiders, mostly from New York City, meddling in our way of life and we have a simple message for them, mind your own business.”

The candidate might want to check out his state maps, however. A fair portion of Lewis County’s most popular recreation land — including Brantingham and Chase lakes and Soft Maple Reservoir — are within the Adirondack Park.

There also will be some that chuckle over the “outsiders from New York City” remarks, since the Democrats liberally tarred Mr. Doheny with the outsider label in both of his campaigns against Rep. William L. Owens, both of which he lost. It’s a new election year, however, and Mr. Doheny has been solidly in the north country since 2010. And he was born in the district, and graduated from Alexandria Central School, so his regional bona fides will probably hold up better this year.

Along those lines, the National Republican Congressional Committee has taken a shot at Mr. Woolf, saying that his recent statement it isn’t fair to call him a Brooklynite is accurate, since voter registration records indicate that until February, he was registered to vote on the East Side of Manhattan.

“So we thank Woolf from clearing that up. Now maybe he can start talking about exactly how he intends to “fix” Obamacare,” a release from GOP spokesman Ian Prior says. “Maybe he can think about that while he campaigns in Central Park.”

The release continues: “‘Manhattanite Aaron Woolf is desperate to pretend that the North Country is more than just a place he visits in the summer, but nobody’s buying it. People also aren’t buying Woolf’s generic talking points, empty rhetoric, and lame attacks that come straight from Nancy Pelosi’s ‘How to be a Candidate’ campaign playbook,’ – NRCC Spokesman Ian Prior.”

— PLW

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In a surprise decision by the state Board of Elections, Donald L. Hassig’s Green Party candidacy has been resurrected.

A call to the board was not returned Monday afternoon, but Mr. Hassig’s petitions were declared valid and, subject to the usual challenges, his 61 signatures could place him in a June 24 primary

If the petitions hold up, Glens Falls resident Matthew J. Funiciello will face Mr. Hassig on the Green Party line.

— PLW

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