Matt Doheny was recently endorsed by a pair of Conservative Party county chairs, and the Watertown businessman hopes this will translate into momentum for his third campaign for New York's 21st Congressional District.
On Thursday, Doheny was endorsed by the Conservative county chair in Warren County and Friday by the county chair in Washington County.
"I jumped in 10 days ago, and I'm just proud and humbled," Doheny said. "It's still early. We're quite excited from our early support."
(Enterprise file photo)
Doheny said he began thinking about running again when Rep. Bill Owens announced his retirement on Jan. 14. Doheny was the Republican nominee for Congress in 2010 and 2012 against Owens and before that sought the GOP chair's endosement to run in 2009. After talks with his wife, with whom he has an 8-month-old child, and consulting with local and national party leaders, he decided to go for it.
"We were as surprised as anyone that Mr. Owens retired from Congress," Doheny said. "I thought about the past and future."
Doheny, an investment fund manager, has been the president of North Country Capital LLC since 2011. He formerly worked on Wall Street at Deutsche Bank and then Fintech Advisory Inc. from 2000 to 2010.
Washington County Chairwoman Beverly Jakway said there was an upswell of support from her party that led to Doheny's endorsement.
"After becoming well acquainted with Matt, his principles and his tremendous capability to help the people of the North Country and having heard from countless members of the Conservative Party Executive Committee, I enthusiastically endorse Matt Doheny for Congress," Jakway wrote in a press release.
Jackway said she likes the real-world experience Doheny brings to the table.
"Matt's extensive working understanding of the economy and Conservative approach will create opportunity, jobs, and prosperity for the people of the North Country," Jackway wrote.
The state Independence Party committee has also endorsed Doheny.
The other Republican primary candidates include Joe Gilbert of DeKalb Junction, Elise Stefanik of Willsboro and Jamie Waller of Lake Pleasant. Stefanik was endorsed by 11 out of 12 Republican county chairs.
Aaron Woolf of Elizabethtown was endorsed by the Democratic Party's county chairs. He is currently the only Democrat running to replace Owens.
A Green Party primary between candidates Matt Funiciello of Glens Falls and Donald Hassig of Colton is likely.
Taking on the critics
Since Doheny's announcement, some Republican county chairs and Stefanik supporters have been critical of his decision. He took on their comments, starting with him joining the race too late.
"I'm not a newcomer to the race," Doheny said. "For four years I gave my heart and soul running against a very tough Bill Owens."
He also responded to comments made about his time spent working in New York City.
"I have deep roots in this district, where my son was born," Doheny said.
Another complaint waged against Doheny is that he has run twice before and should let someone new should take the lead.
Doheny said he was given some advice recently by former Congressman Newt Gingrich in that regard.
"He had two very close races and then got elected," Doheny said. "Should I have a third chance? I think the answer is yes."
Gilbert said Doheny joining the race will be good for the party, hoping it will cause more debate around the issues.
"It's going to make for an interesting race," Gilbert said. "I think lively debate is good for the candidates and good for the voters."
Doheny's campaign is gearing up to start there petition drive for the Republican, Independence and Conservative party lines. The petition process starts Tuesday.
"That's our main focus." Doheny said. "We know the campaign will be tough, whether the primary or general."