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Third man considers race for Congress

TIMES STAFF WRITER
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A tea party activist is considering a run for the north country's congressional seat, potentially complicating Matthew A. Doheny's hopes of reclaiming the historically Republican seat for the GOP.


Again.


Kelly S. Eustis, who was born in Plattsburgh, grew up in Argyle and attended SUNY Potsdam, is the 23-year-old founder of One Nation PAC, which raises money for conservative, tea party-affiliated causes.


"Right now, I am still exploring the possibility of running in the district and have not declared announced candidacy," Mr. Eustis said in an email to the Watertown Daily Times. "We have only started to lay the groundwork to begin outreach efforts and after speaking with Republican and Conservative Party officials, grass-roots activists and voters, there will be a decision."


Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, holds the seat after winning a special election in 2009 and re-election in 2010 against Mr. Doheny.


In the 2010 election, Conservative Party candidate Douglas L. Hoffman remained on the ballot even after losing the Republican primary to Mr. Doheny, siphoning votes from him in the close election. Those circumstances may have cost Mr. Doheny the race.


The possibility of a repeat in 2012 was first reported in Politico, a Web-based political publication, and the Glens Falls Post-Star.


At 19, Mr. Eustis unsuccessfully ran on the Conservative Party line for Town Council in Argyle.


Mr. Eustis will be 25, the minimum age for the congressional office, in September 2012.


Republican and Conservative party officials said Friday they hadn't heard of Mr. Eustis. Further complicating the efforts to organize the race is the fact that congressional boundaries are sure to change because of shifts in the state's population. The state will lose two districts because of population loss, and the 23rd, stretching from Watertown to Plattsburgh, will need tens of thousands more residents to meet requirements.


The district could expand south. Or it could be chopped up, separating Plattsburgh and Watertown.


"I've never even heard of the guy," said Henry R. "Hank" Ford, chairman of the St. Lawrence County Conservative Party. "Right now, we don't even know if there's going to be a 23rd."


Asked if he was supporting Mr. Doheny in the race, Mr. Ford said, "Matt's a very good friend of mine. I think he'd do an excellent job if he got in there. But where's he going to be?"


Donald G.M. Coons III, chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party, said in an email that he was not familiar with Mr. Eustis.

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