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Thoughts on Owens, Doheny farm debate


If the Nov. 6 election between Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, and Republican Matt Doheny were held tomorrow, and instead of being based on votes it was based on yard signs that I saw in Washington County, Mr. Doheny would win — unanimously.
Mr. Doheny's presence in The New Part of the district was striking. His campaign turned out a cadre of perhaps two dozen volunteers outside of the event, at the Greenwich Central High School. They were holding Doheny signs.
Mr. Owens came with a small entourage of staffers.
The Republican machine in Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties, in other words, is strong.
Mr. Owens' campaign is hungry, too. They'll make plenty of phone calls and knock on plenty of doors. But on Wednesday night, Mr. Doheny's campaign outorganized them. Which is interesting, for a campaign that was downplaying the whole event.
Also, it bears mentioning that The New Part of the district is, in a word, absolutely awesome (sorry, needed two). Glens Falls, in Warren County, reminds me of a more bustling Lake Placid, or a Burlington, Vt. And Washington County is changing, too. It's dairyland, for sure, but I'm told that there are more and more New York City residents who are moving there to buy cheap land.
Also, in The New Part, there are hills. But no restaurants open past 10:30 p.m. on a Wednesday.
Mr. Owens, who referred to Mr. Doheny as "Matt," and Mr. Doheny, who referred to Mr. Owens as "Mr. Owens," were both jokesters before and after the event. Mr. Owens didn't really go after Mr. Doheny, while Mr. Doheny hit Mr. Owens for his supposed connection to Democrats in the state Legislature who want to unionize farm workers (first, Mr. Doheny said, we're worried whether Johnny can work on the farm after school, next, we're worried that "Johnny's in a union?").
Also, back to the "hungry" thing, both campaigns were running oppo during the event. The Doheny campaign was filming Mr. Owens' answers, and the Owens campaign was filing Mr. Doheny's answers in a press klatch after the event.
Doheny spokesman Jude Seymour was recording Mr. Owens' gaggle. After the event was over, Mr. Owens turned to Mr. Seymour, who used to be a reporter at the Watertown Daily Times, and asked if he had any questions. Mr. Seymour said no.
A missed opportunity. But perhaps being in The New Part of the district will bring that out in people.

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