Many Republicans from the eastern side of the 21st Congressional District are reiterating and reinforcing their endorsement of Elise Stefanik of Willsboro to run as their candidate for Congress, since Matt Doheny of Watertown jumped into the race.
Doheny, who ran unsuccessfully as the Republican candidate for the seat twice before, has created a stir in the party, particularly since the party leadership in the 12-county district had already made their choice.
Don Lee, chair of the Clinton County Republican Committee, became the most recent county chair to reaffirm his committee’s support for Elise Stefanik. On Monday Lee released a statement of support.
“Elise Stefanik came to the Clinton County Republican Committee endorsement meeting and proved to us she is absolutely the best candidate in this race,” Lee said. “She knows North Country issues, she’s very intelligent, she’s hardworking and has demonstrated she has the energy and drive to be a forward-looking candidate.
“The Clinton County Republican Committee endorsed Elise last month and did so with very good reason. Our opinion of her as the strongest candidate has not changed and we will continue to support her campaign,” Lee said.
Meanwhile the Washington County Republican Committee on Sunday reiterated support for Stefanik.
Chairman John Patterson said, “Our committee held an open and transparent process in order to select a candidate for the 21st Congressional District. We interviewed anyone who stepped forward and held themselves out as a candidate. Our committee selected Elise Stefanik based on a number of factors which included knowledge of the issues of the district, commitment to Republican values, background and experience, and determination to see this race to the end. She was the overwhelming choice.
“We see Elise as the strongest candidate and feel she has the best opportunity to win this seat,” Patterson said.
Late last week, Essex County Republican 1st Vice-Chair spoke on behalf of ailing Essex County Chair and NYS Regional Chair Ron Jackson.
“On February 5th, 11 chairs of the Republican County Committees of the 21st Congressional District selected Elise Stefanik as the candidate to best represent all the counties as our congresswoman in Washington. This fact remains; she is still the best possible candidate regardless of the ‘Johnny come lately,’” Jackson said.
“The entry of Matt Doheny into the 21st Congressional race does not change the Saratoga County Republican Committee's support for Elise Stefanik,” said Saratoga party chair John Herrick last Thursday.
“I believe Elise Stefanik will win the primary and win the general election.”
Among other who have expressed an interest in running for the GOP slot are former St. Lawrence County Emergency Services Director Joseph Gilbert, who has said he will run; and Michael Ring, a broadcast engineer from Jefferson County.
The 21st District includes the area from Lake Champlain down to Saratoga County across to Watertown and as far as Lake Ontario.
The incumbent in the seat, Democrat Bill Owens, is not running for re-election after filling a year of one term and two full terms.
The Democratic leaership in the district has named Aaron Woolf, a documentary filmmaker and newcomer to elective politics, to run under their banner. Others, including former state Sen. and Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine of St. Vincent, have expressed an interest in the Democrats’ ballot line.