PLATTSBURGH — Republican candidates for the 21st Congressional District Matt Doheny and Elise Stefanik agreed on most major issues but were not shy about spiking each other with personal shots in a debate this week.
“I am running a positive campaign while my opponent offers nothing more than mudslinging,” Stefanik said in the one-hour debate filmed in Watertown and televised on Time-Warner Cable Television.
“There is only one candidate in this race that is being funded by D.C. insider Super PAC money,” Doheny said, inferring that Stefanik is beholden to special interests.
The two will meet in a Republican primary on June 24 for the right to face Democrat Aaron Woolf and Green Party candidate Matt Funicello in November.
Doheny, 43, hounded Stefanik on her residency claims, often bringing up that she did not grow up in the district and moved to Willsboro in Essex County only to run for the seat.
“Unlike my opponent, I actually grew up and live in the district,” Doheny said, noting that Stefanik did not vote in the district in the 2010 and 2012 elections.
He is from Alexandria Bay and moved to Watertown in 2009 after spending a decade working as an investor on Wall Street.
Stefanik, 29, said she moved into a home in Willsboro that her family bought when she was 3 years old and where she learned to ride a bike and spent a lot of time as a child.
She also touted her affiliation with her family’s plywood business in the Albany area, saying she works for them and does business with and for North Country residents.
“I won’t hold it against you that you were actually born in New Jersey, Matt,” she snapped back at a Doheny snipe.
Both candidates agree on support for Fort Drum in Watertown; repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act, known as Obamacare; and calling for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Administrator retired Gen. Eric Shinseki.