Congressional candidate Douglas Hoffman has released a poll showing that he has a significant lead in the Republican primary race.
Hoffman commissioned McLaughlin & Associates to conduct a poll of the 23rd congressional Republican primary race between himself and Matt Doheny.
The poll shows Hoffman leading Doheny by a count of 52-20 among likely primary voters.
"This poll reaffirms what we have been saying all along: Rank and file Republicans overwhelmingly support Doug Hoffman," Hoffman campaign spokesman Rob Ryan said.
Doheny's camp isn't buying it.
"This was an unscientific push poll commissioned by Doug Hoffman for Doug Hoffman. Enough said," spokeswoman Alison M. Power said.
"We're looking forward to September 14 and the only numbers that will actually matter, and we feel very confident about what those numbers will be."
The poll also showed that 55 percent of voters said they would vote for the conservative Republican over a moderate Republican.
It also said 54 percent of responders identified Hoffman, an accounting-firm owner from Saranac Lake, as conservative.
Doheny, an investor from Alexandria Bay who now lives in Watertown, has been running an aggressive campaign, with advertisements on the air in media markets throughout the 11-county district.
He has gained the endorsements of nine of the 11 county Republican parties, with two county parties — Franklin and Lewis — not making an endorsement.
Doheny also will be running on the Independence Party line.
On Wednesday, he received the endorsement of Franklin County Legislator, Paul Maroun of Tupper Lake, a one-time potential Republican primary opponent.
"Matt is the candidate who can win the primary, unite the party and win in November," Maroun said.
"He shares our values on national defense, border security, the economy and many other issues, and we need to send him to Washington because we can't afford to send another liberal there."
Hoffman has gained a notable endorsement from the Upstate New York Tea Party, which has grown to almost 1,000 members in one year.
The winner of the Republican primary will take on incumbent Democrat Bill Owens in the November election.
Owens, a Plattsburgh attorney, won the special election for the 23rd District seat last year when he defeated Hoffman, who ran on the Conservative Party ticket, in a close race.
Hoffman gained the support of many Republicans who viewed their party's choice in the race, St. Lawrence County Assemblywoman Dierdre "Dede" Scozzafava, a St. Lawrence County Assemblywoman, as too liberal.
Scozzafava dropped out of the race three days before the election, as her poll numbers lagged, and endorsed Owens.
Hoffman, a darling of the Conservative Party who gained national attention last year, has struggled to raise funds this year, having reportedly raised $83,000 the past three months.
Political observers believe that if Hoffman does not win the primary this year and stays in the race as a Conservative Party candidate again, it will split the Republican vote and give Owens a distinct advantage.
Doheny said he hopes the primary will make it clear who has the best chance to beat Owens in November.
"I would hope that any candidate would live by the wishes of the voters," he said.
Republicans have a sizable advantage in voter registration in the 23rd District, with 166,827 voters, compared with 122,669 Democrats as of April.
There are 20,930 Independence Party voters and 5,733 Conservative Party voters in the district.
Owens's victory last year marked the first time a Democrat has held the seat since 1852.
The Republican primary is Sept. 14.
E-mail Joe LoTemplio at: email@example.com