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Doheny seeks rematch against Owens


If there was a time since 2010 that Matthew A. Doheny wasn’t running for Congress, it was short — the time it takes to drive a few miles, a few turns from the Italian-American Civic Association on Bellew Avenue, where he had just conceded to Rep. William L. Owens in his race for Congress in November 2010, to his home on Paddock Street.

His brief respite ended shortly after 2 a.m. that same day with a phone call from one his mentors.

“‘Get up and call everybody you know tomorrow,’” former Rep. David O’B. Martin, R-Canton, told him, Mr. Doheny recalls.

“That was good advice,” Mr. Doheny says now.

Sure, he did a bit of soul-searching about whether to run again. But the answer was probably clear to most of the people he called that next morning.

“That’s really how 2012 got started,” Mr. Doheny said. “The day after.”

The road to a rematch — which has included the announcements, the fundraisers, the hires, the endorsements, every mile marker hit with the analytical precision of a man who has been on this road before, who has been on this road for years — will take another turn Tuesday. Kellie A. Greene, an insurgent candidate who questions Mr. Doheny’s principles and conservative mettle, will try to upend all of his well-laid plans by winning the GOP primary.

The task at hand for Mr. Doheny, the heavy favorite, is simple enough: convince Republican voters that the conservative movement must travel together; that the Republican Party and the right-leaning voters in the district must get behind the candidate who has the resources and the third-party lines to defeat Mr. Owens; that that candidate is him.

In the north country’s congressional race, past is prologue. In 2009 and again in 2010, two registered Republicans were on the ballot against Mr. Owens. One was on the Conservative Party line, the other was on the Republican Party line. Both times, the split helped deliver a historically GOP-dominated district to Mr. Owens.

This time around, if Mr. Doheny wins, all three lines will belong to one candidate. But some conservatives in the district have yet to come into the fold. At least some have raised issues of character.

In 2004, Mr. Doheny was charged twice with boating while intoxicated, a fact that he voluntarily disclosed during his 2010 race. Ms. Greene doesn’t talk about the issue publicly anymore, but she did bring it up in her early emails to former supporters of Douglas L. Hoffman.

And earlier this year, the gossip news site Gawker posted a photograph of Mr. Doheny embracing a woman who was not his fiancée, which he has since described as an innocent kiss on the cheek caught at a bad angle — much ado about nothing, he said.

What does Mr. Doheny say to voters who have questions about his character?

“I say, ‘Get to know me. Understand that a lot of those things are fabricated,’” Mr. Doheny said. “I’ve made mistakes, and I’ve apologized for my mistakes.”

Mr. Doheny has been busy preparing for his wedding to Mary E. Reidy on Saturday, just four days after the primary, at St. Cyril’s Church in Alexandria Bay, where he was an altar boy growing up.

He met Ms. Reidy when he was working in New York City in the 2000s. He brought his career back to his north country roots in 2011. That’s when he founded North Country Capital LLC, an investment firm based at 215 Washington St. The asset is valued between $1 million and $5 million, and he earned an estimated $100,001 to $1 million through his business in 2011 and part of 2012, according to his personal finance disclosures.

His business experience — far from the handicap that his Republican and Democratic opponents alike have attempted to turn it into — is a reason to vote for him, he says.

“With my business background, I understand that right now, our economy and our debt are the two challenges we face,” he said.

Perhaps Tuesday will bring something that few could have predicted on a cold November morning in 2010. That’s not likely, Mr. Doheny says.

“We have a clear choice that can be laid out for Nov. 6,” Mr. Doheny said. “We’re looking forward to having a spirited debate and taking it to Congressman Owens starting on June 27.”

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