Doug Hoffman rolled up to the former Joice and Burch store on Route 48 in a big RV festooned with his campaign signs.
A small but enthusiastic crowd was waiting for him.
They spent the time waiting for Hoffman by holding his signs up on the street corners near the office, trying to influence undecided Republicans that the accountant from Saranac Lake would be a better choice than the party’s endorsed candidate, Alexandria Bay investment banker Matt Doheny.
The winner of Tuesday’s primary earns the Republican party’s line in November’s election against incumbent Democrat Bill Owens of Plattsburgh for the 23rd district Congressi0nal seat that covers all of Oswego County.
“The enthusiasm for Doug Hoffman is there, and it’s grassroots, too,” said Oswego County Conservative Party chair Leonard Schick.
Hoffman stepped out of the RV, shook hands with Schick, and waded into the store to the cheers and applause of the group.
“Crowds like this are just energizing,” he said as he worked the room, shaking hands and chatting casually with supporters.
The only poll of the race was an internal poll done by Hoffman several weeks ago.Â He claimed the poll showed him with a 35 point lead over Doheny, but the details of that poll have not been published, so the claim is impossible to verify.
Hoffman said that calls to Republican voters in the last couple of weeks seem to reinforce that poll.
“We’ve been doing a lot of our own internal calling and the numbers we’re getting on the calling show that the poll has a lot of validity,” he said.
Hoffman and Doheny have debated twice.Â In each debate, they agreed on most issues.Â Hoffman has seized on Doheny’s support for first trimester abortions as an issue that sets the two men apart.
Hoffman will be on the November ballot no matter what happens Tuesday.Â He is the Conservative Party’s endorsed candidate and has said he will stay on the ballot even if he loses the Republican primary.
The three-way race involving Hoffman, Owens and Republican Dede Scozzafava a year ago split Republican votes and gave Owens a narrow win.
Doheny will visit Fulton at noon Monday for a get-out-the-vote rally.
A gallery of photos from Hoffman’s visit to Fulton: