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April 13, 2014

Five vie for 21st Congressional District seat

Conservatives back Stefanik, could create 4-way race in November

PLATTSBURGH — The New York State Conservative Party has given its endorsement to Elise Stefanik in the race for the 21st Congressional District seat, wiping out the chance for a primary.

The move could mean that a four-way race will unfold, which has Democrats smiling.

“This is very good news for our candidate,” Clinton County Democratic Party Chairman Martin Mannix said.

“There is no question that the way this district is gerrymandered it gives Democrats and independent-minded people a better opportunity to get their candidate elected.”

PRIMARY LINEUP SOON

Stefanik, 29, has been endorsed by the Republican Party, but Matt Doheny is challenging her in a June 24 primary.

If Doheny wins, it would set up a race pitting him against Stefanik on the Conservative line and most likely Democrat Aaron Woolf, who was endorsed by the party in February.

Woolf, 49, is being challenged in a Democratic primary by former St. Lawrence County Party Chairman Stephen Burke.

The Green Party will also have a primary featuring Matt Funicello of Glens Falls and Donald Hassig of St. Lawrence County.

The deadline for filing petitions to run in a primary was Friday, and candidates have one week to challenge them. The final primary lineup should be nailed down in two weeks.

OWENS WON 3-WAY RACE

The winner in November will replace incumbent Democrat Bill Owens of Plattsburgh, who decided not to seek re-election.

Owens was elected in a special election in 2009 to become the first Democrat to hold the seat in the 12-county district since the Civil War era.

The district heavily favors Republicans in terms of voter registration, and Owens benefited from a three-way race that year that also included Republican Dierdre “Dede” Scozzafava and Conservative Party candidate Douglas Hoffman.

Scozzafava dropped out of the race three days before election day as her poll numbers lagged and Hoffman’s and Owens’s remained close. She gave her support to Owens who narrowly beat Hoffman.

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