In the North Country, Democrat Bill Owens will keep his seat in Congress. The incumbent knocked off republican challenger Matt Doheny. But this race had a wildcard, a spoiler that experts say may have swung the election to Owens. As our Brian Dwyer reports, many in the GOP are not happy.
NORTH COUNTRY, N.Y. – "How disappointing is it to you that maybe Doug didn't do maybe enough as he could have to make sure his name was out of this?" YNN Reporter Brian Dwyer asked 23rd Congressional Candidate Matt Doheny.
"It's deeply disappointing," Doheny replied.
In an exclusive interview with YNN after the election, Matt Doheny expressed the feelings of many republicans in Northern New York: Doug Hoffman likely cost him the seat.
After losing the September primary, Hoffman bowed out and endorsed Doheny. But many think it was less than a half-hearted effort. He made an appearance and there were these mailers, but a closer look shows they were done by Doheny's campaign. And some republicans were quietly thinking Hoffman didn't want to get out of the way.
As it played out Tuesday, Hoffman, who was on the conservative line, got about six percent of the vote, Doheny lost by two.
"It's interesting because it's almost the same percentage that Dede Scozzafava got last fall and tipped it in that direction," Dr. Ray Petersen, Jefferson Community College Political Science Professor said.
So what about Hoffman? Did he try? He never did answer our question directly, but this is a statement he released Wednesday.
He says, "The 23rd Congressional District's 11 Republican County Chairs knew since January that I would be on the Conservative Party line and that I would have no legal way to get off it after July. Yet, they endorsed Matt Doheny even though I had the grass-root support and momentum from the 2009 campaign to create a Republican/Conservative landslide in 2010."
"He took some time between the primary election results and his announcement that he was dropping out to do that. Who knows what kind of discussions were taking place behind the scenes but it was a very luke warm endorsement," Petersen said, adding that it appears Hoffman had no interest in really supporting Doheny.
"You know what? We had a fair race. One guy wins, one guy loses. That's the way it goes, so," Doheny said in that interview.
Hoffman went on to say that the true spoiler in this race is the political bosses who don't yet realize Republicans and Conservatives need to work together to win.
We asked the winner, Bill Owens, for his thoughts on Hoffman's impact, but he declined to comment.
Statement from Doug Hoffman:
“The outcome of the 23rd Congressional race is proof positive that the Republican and Conservative Parties must work together to achieve victory. The spoilers in this race are the political bosses who have yet to come to that realization.
The 23rd Congressional District’s 11 Republican County Chairs knew since January that I would be on the Conservative Party line and that I would have no legal way to get off it after July. Yet, they endorsed Matt Doheny even though I had the grass-root support and momentum from the 2009 campaign to create a Republican/Conservative landslide in 2010.
The Republican bosses in the 23rd CD have to live up to their big tent philosophy. I am a living example that they did not.”