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Waller exits congressional race, throws support to Doheny

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CANTON - And then there were three.

The Republican primary for the 21st Congressional District seat just got a little smaller, as long-shot candidate James K. Waller, Lake Pleasant, announced he is leaving the race and throwing his support behind Watertown Republican Matthew A. Doheny.

Mr. Waller, who has no endorsements, said last week he would use a few days to get his game face on, then hit the petition trail in an attempt to get the 1,250 valid Republican signatures he needed to get on the ballot. However, that now won’t happen.

“It came down to me naively thinking it was going to be easier than it was,” Mr. Waller said Monday. “It turns out it was a great blessing to have been a part of this. I’m just an average Joe who said, “There’s a problem and I think I can fix it.”

In endorsing Mr. Doheny, the former candidate said that the man who has sought the position held by the retiring Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, three times is a “true leader” and tireless worker who espouses conservative values.

Mr. Waller said he has spoken regularly to Mr. Doheny since announcing his candidacy, including Saturday night as the two men “traded stories about what we’ve been going through” on the campaign trail.

“I’d always hoped that there would be someone who would be a stronger, better candidate than me and then I thought, ‘I just got off the phone with him,’” he said. “I’ve switched from opponent to surrogate. I’ve always been the surrogate, but the dominos are now falling into place. My role is falling into place.”

In a Monday news release, Mr. Doheny said he is grateful for Mr. Waller’s endorsement.

“I am proud to have the endorsement of Jamie Waller,” Mr. Doheny is quoted as saying in the release. “As a Marine and as a candidate for Congress, Jamie has shown a true commitment to serving others. He is a true leader and someone I believe has a promising future as a leader and public servant.”

Mr. Waller said in a release announcing that he is dropping out of the race that he is disappointed in candidate Elise M. Stefanik, Willsboro.

“As I encountered her face to face, Elise has shown to be a thoughtful woman of great intellect, yet fails to be truthful,” Mr. Waller said in his release. “That she has gone to the airwaves and outright lied about being the ‘only conservative’ in the race, is the reason I believe she has acted in a way that is unbecoming of a Representative of the 21st Congressional District of New York or any other district for that matter.”

The 28-year-old former Marine worked on the campaign of Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who ran for the Republican nomination in the 2012 presidential election.

Mr. Waller lives in Hamilton County, the most sparsely populated county east of the Mississippi with fewer than 5,000 residents and only 2,579 registered Republicans.

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Staff writer Brian Kelly contributed to this report.

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