Some voters in New York's 21st Congressional District heard a familiar voice on the other end of the phone line Monday: that of former President Bill Clinton.
The Democrat who served as president from 1992 to 2000 has endorsed U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, for re-election. Owens is running against Watertown businessman Matt Doheny, who will be on the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines, in today's election.
In the automated phone message, Clinton tells voters to elect Owens because he's the best candidate to create jobs and grow the economy, according to a transcript of the call provided by the Owens campaign.
(Enterprise file photo)
"Bill's got a strong record of fighting for middle-class families in upstate New York, and he has what it takes to create jobs and grow the economy," the message from Clinton says. "He knows we have to balance the budget, and do it in the right way by cutting wasteful spending and not giving more tax breaks to millionaires. I'm proud to support Bill Owens because he's the only candidate who will fight for middle-class families and their future."
The robo-calls came on the same day Owens appeared alongside Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, a Republican from Willsboro, at a campaign rally in Saratoga County. Meanwhile, Doheny campaigned with former Gov. George Pataki, Assemblywoman Janet Duprey and state Sen. Betty Little.
Owens is fighting for a second re-election since initially winning the job in a special election in 2009. He said this year's race has been different than the 2009 and 2010 elections because people are paying more attention to national politics and the presidential race.
"It may be a little more difficult to get people to focus on a congressional race as a result of that, even in a state like New York where the clear outcome is that the president will carry New York," Owens said. "I think that in 2009 and 2010, they were unique but also tended to be unencumbered, if you will, by the presidential election.
"Nonetheless, the conversation always goes back to the local. ... It's always about jobs and bipartisanship and, 'How are you guys going to get stuff done down there (in Washington)?' And people say it very personally: 'In my interest. How are you going to do things that impact me?' I think they understand that is exactly the path I've walked down really my entire career."
Contact Chris Morris at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.