Owens, Doheny rematch in northern NY - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Owens, Doheny rematch in northern NY

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A new district, but two familiar foes; Democrat Bill Owens is seeking a third term in Congress, and for the second time, Republican Watertown businessman Matt Doheny is seeking to remove him from office.

"We need real leadership here in the North Country," Doheny said.

"I have experience over the last 35 years, being on Main Street, working with people in these communities," Owens said.

At the top on both candidates' lists-- the economy and passing a farm bill. But the hottest topic on the campaign trail is health care reform. A recent poll by Siena College showed about 50 percent of district residents want the bill implemented, 47 percent want it repealed. Owens supports Obamacare, Doheny does not.

"Obamacare is going to leave the entire control of our health care system into 15 unelected people; this is the IPAB, Independent Payment Advisory Board. The crazy part, which I don't think Americans have heard about yet, is that Congress can't even overturn, even a majority of the House and Senate, won't be able to overturn the decisions of this unelected body. It's un-American," Doheny said.

"The Supreme Court has made its decision. We now need to move on, we need to fix it as we go forward and I am perfectly willing to do that and fix the legislation, but we need to move forward and stop fighting about this," Owens said.

This time around, the campaign trail has taken these men to new territory. Due to redistricting, 40 percent is new ground-- communities like Glens Falls and Saratoga. The region was represented by Republican Chris Gibson, who knocked off an incumbent Democrat last election. Doheny is hoping for the same outcome.

"Last time, Congressman Gibson won by double-digit margins there. We have the registration advantage," Doheny said.

But Owens says he is not concerned about the heavily Republican area, referring to it as familiar territory. His former law partner, Republican Ron Stafford, represented the area as a state senator for 36 years.

"Many people know me, both from my work and partnership with Ron. So, I found it pretty easy to introduce myself and get people to understand what my positions are," Owens said.

On the campaign trail, Doheny has had some big names from Washington join him, including House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

"Shows the confidence they have in me," Doheny said. "They are already here and listening to me and I think that bodes well for the North Country."

Owens, on the other hand, has no plans to bring big names to the North Country, instead relying on local support. Republican Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward and Moriah Town Supervisor Tom Scozzafava, also a Republican, marched with him in a Labor Day Parade.

"I want people who know my record over the last 30 years to come out and support me," Owens said. "I think that is more compelling story than any other story."

Now this time, Doheny has the support of the Republican and Conservative Parties. You may remember in 2010 another candidate had the backing of the Conservative Party and captured 6 percent of the votes. Doheny lost to Owens by just 2 percentage points.

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