PLATTSBURGH — State Assemblywoman Janet Duprey is getting behind the candidacy of Matt Doheny in the 21st Congressional District Republican primary race, sparking anger within her own party.
“I am very upset and very disappointed she would do that,” former Clinton County Republican Party Chairman Donald Lee told the Press-Republican.
“She has gone back on her word.”
Doheny, 43, is locked in a tight battle with Elise Stefanik in the Republican Party primary race, which will be decided on Tuesday, June 24.
Stefanik, 29, was endorsed by 11 of the 12 county Republican committees in the district earlier this year. She entered the race last year, well before incumbent Democrat Bill Owens of Plattsburgh announced in January that he would not be seeking re-election.
Duprey, 68, who has been the assemblywoman in the 115th District since 2007, came out with an endorsement of Doheny on Wednesday, as did Assemblyman Ken Blakenbush of Jefferson County.
“I think Matt has the life experiences and is a proven successful businessman and is someone from the district who has chosen to raise his family in the district,” she told the Press-Republican.
“And he clearly to me is the better candidate to represent the district.”
‘COULD SPLIT PARTY’
Doheny, who lost to Owens in close races in 2010 and 2012, decided to join the race after Owens bowed out, and he submitted the required number of signatures on a petition to get on the primary ballot.
When the incumbent stepped out, said Lee, who was still the chairman at the time, only four counties had chosen to endorse Stefanik, and Doheny could have sought the endorsement from the remaining eight counties, including Clinton.
“But Matt chose not to do that, and she (Stefanik) stuck it out, and she impressed a lot of people, and everyone got behind her.”
Lee, who retired as party chair last month, said he is worried that if Doheny wins the primary it will create a split in the party, as Stefanik will remain on the Conservative Party ballot for the general election in November.