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Fulton, Oswego City GOPs Back Doheny for Congress; Showdown with Hoffman, Conservatives Looms

Republican committees in the cities of Fulton and Oswego this week have endorsed Matt Doheny for Congress.

“Matt is a conservative Republican and a communicator who can carry our philosophy to Washington, D.C.,” Fulton city chairman Dave Fontecchio said in a news release. Said Oswego city chair Paul Santore in a separate statement, “We look forward to working with Matt toward victory in November.”

Doheny also claims the backing of the Oneida County Republican Committee and the backing of some Republican leaders in other counties of the 11-county district.

The race to pick a candidate to take on freshman Democrat Bill Owens is getting more interesting by the day.

The state Conservative Party quickly backed Doug Hoffman, the Lake Placid accountant who came close to beating Owens in last year’s special election. Hoffman, running only on the Conservative Party line, neutralized Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava.

Conservative Party chair Mike Long recently said only Hoffman could unify the Republican and Conservative parties, implying that his party will back Hoffman no matter who Republican leaders choose.

But Hoffman did not ask the Fulton city committees for its support, according to Watertown Daily Times political reporter Jude Seymour, and failed to impress the Oswego city committee in his one visit to them. Seymour wrote that Santore told him:

“…the group was impressed with Mr. Doheny’s confidence in his positions and how well he could articulate them.

“Mr. Hoffman, on the other hand, read from a four-page document that he carried with him. And once we were into the question and answer portion of the meeting, he was completely lost,” the chairman Santore) said. “It could have been nerves. I don’t know. But he wasn’t comfortable enough with his own positions to articulate them once he was off the script.”

The quote is reminiscent of Hoffman’s appearance during the special election campaign at the Watertown Daily Times editorial board meeting. The paper’s editorial afterwards blistered Hoffman, saying he “showed no grasp of the bread-and-butter issues pertinent to district residents…”

Hoffman raised only $13,000 in the three weeks since making his candidacy official, while Doheny reported donations of more than half a million dollars. In a fundraising e-mail, Hoffman indicated that Republican leaders should have invited him to their endorsement meetings. But Fulton city chair Fontechhio told the Times’ Seymour that Doheny has stayed in touch with them and Hoffman has not.

Hoffman and Doheny appear headed for a primary election showdown.

The Fulton and Oswego Republican committees also gave their backing to Patty Ritchie, who will take on Democratic State Senator Darrel Aubertine this fall.