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Sun., Oct. 4
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Doheny will face Owens on GOP line in November


CANTON - The rematch is on: Matthew A. Doheny defeated Kellie A. Greene, 72 percent to 28 percent, in the GOP primary on Tuesday, according to unofficial election-night results.

Mr. Doheny’s victory means that he will face Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, on Nov. 6. It also means that for the first time since former Rep. John McHugh was in office, the Conservative, Independence and Republican party lines all belong to one candidate, which will help coalesce the right in the north country’s congressional seat, at least on paper.

The opportunity is not just to face Bill Owens again, Mr. Doheny said at his election-night rally at the Italian American Civic Association on Bellew Avenue. “The opportunity… it’s a clear one-on-one shot.”

Mr. Owens won the district in 2009 and 2010, when there were two Republicans on the ballot — one on the Conservative line and one on the Republican line. In 2010, it was Mr. Doheny on the Republican line and Douglas L. Hoffman on the Conservative line. Mr. Doheny lost by just under 2,000 votes, and many blamed Mr. Hoffman’s presence on the ballot for the narrow defeat.

After Tuesday’s results, no such third-party siphon exists this year for Mr. Doheny.

Mr. Doheny had some big advantages over Ms. Greene. He had spent more than $160,000 in preparing for the primary and the general elections, while she spent less than $10,000. He had been in the race longer. And the Republican Party’s top officials had not just their thumbs on the scale for Mr. Doheny, but the entire weight of their collective body politic bearing down in his favor.

So the win was, to put it mildly, expected. But according to some supporters of Ms. Greene, Mr. Doheny still has his work cut out for him to bring the most conservative and politically active voters in the district into the fold, if he so chooses. With a tight race expected, every vote and every volunteer could make a difference; after all, Ms. Greene earned more than 3,000 votes on Tuesday, which was more than the Owens and Doheny margin in 2010.

“I just don’t trust him,” said James A. Skeldon, a volunteer for Ms. Greene who said that he might vote for Mr. Doheny in November, but would do little else to assist him.

Mr. Skeldon and Lee Marshall were part of a contingent of a half dozen people holding “Greene for Congress” signs on Public Square on Tuesday. They said that like-minded conservative voters might stay at home in November, or vote for Mr. Owens out of spite. And they certainly wouldn’t be as passionate as they would for a Greene candidacy, they said.

Some Greene supporters were already prepared to take the loss in stride.

“If this ends tonight, I’ll go home knowing I did the best I could for what I believe,” said Arthur J. Feather, a Pamelia resident wearing a red Greene T-shirt and holding a Greene sign on Public Square. “The bottom line is, we’re ordinary people of modest means doing something we believe in.”

One conservative voter who won’t come into the fold is Ms. Greene herself. A former international business consultant and recent graduate of seminary school in Arizona, Ms. Greene said she won’t make an effort to help Mr. Doheny in November.

“I’m not going to support him,” she said. “He says he’s a conservative, but his stance on issues shows he’s a moderate.”

Ms. Greene, who can’t run for state office in November because she only recently moved to New York from Arizona, said that she’ll remain in politics.

“I think this has been a launch pad for my career, and I’m not going to be disappearing any time soon,” she said at her election-night watch party at the Savory Downtown on Washington Street.

Mr. Doheny, who spoke to about 40 or 50 supporters at his rally, said his campaign would announce a campaign-stop blitz after his victory. He has another big day coming up, too: On Saturday, he’s set to wed Mary E. Reidy in Alexandria Bay.

The state GOP chairman welcomed Mr. Doheny into the race with a news release on Tuesday night, saying that his “impressive victory bodes well for November.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee welcomed Mr. Doheny, too, with a news release that attacked him as an extreme tea party right-winger, plucking quotes from appearances Mr. Doheny made in his primary campaign.

But Mr. Doheny said that the race would help, not hurt his chances in November.

“Another win is always good,” Mr. Doheny said. “We’ve developed our team, and our team has produced a great victory tonight.”

Times staff writers Gordon Block and Ted Booker contributed to this report.

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