Gov. Andrew Cuomo has endorsed U.S. Rep. Bill Owens in the race for New York's new 21st Congressional District.
Owens will be on the Democratic and Working Families party lines in the Nov. 6 election. He faces two challengers: Watertown businessman Matt Doheny, who will be on the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines, and Don Hassig, who will be on the Green Party line even though the state party renounced him last week for his statements that "Mexican" farmworkers who can't speak English shouldn't be allowed to work at New York dairy farms.
Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a press release that Owens "has shown a serious commitment to strengthening New York's economy and is working hard every day to help create jobs in the state.
"We need a champion in Washington who will fight for working families and good paying jobs, and that's why I'm standing with Bill in this election," the governor said.
Responding to the endorsement, Owens said he's been impressed by Cuomo and expressed support for the governor's agenda.
"I have had the opportunity to witness firsthand the efforts Governor Cuomo is making towards job creation through my work with the State's regional economic development councils," Owens said in the release. "I am proud to have the support of a Governor that has done so much for local job creation, and I look forward to partnering with him again in the future to continue these efforts."
Doheny's campaign wasn't surprised by the endorsement, given that Owens and Cuomo share the same political party.
"We respect Gov. Cuomo, but it's clear that Matt Doheny is the best candidate here to help bring jobs to upstate," Doheny spokesman Jude Seymour wrote in an email. "We look forward to working with the governor to make New York a better place to live, work and play after Nov. 6."
Hassig also wasn't shocked by Cuomo's endorsement.
"Congressman Owens has demonstrated that he is a team player," he told the Enterprise. "He has demonstrated that he will not rock the boat. The problem is that our nation is sinking in the morass that has been created by the team players and the won't-rock-the-boaters."
Cuomo began campaigning for candidates in state and federal races earlier this week, according to an Associated Press report. But the Democrat isn't just endorsing people from his own party. Cuomo drew criticism from some Democrats when he endorsed Republican state Sen. Stephen Saland instead of his Democratic rival, Terry Gipson. Saland voted for same-sex marriage in 2011, which Cuomo championed.
On Tuesday, Cuomo also endorsed U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop, a Democrat from Long Island.
The Albany Times Union blog Capitol Confidential reported Tuesday afternoon that Cuomo "tends to be risk averse in his endorsements," noting that in 2011, all three of the candidates endorsed by the governor went on to win. The same was true for candidates in the June federal primary.