Rep. Bill Owens' campaign is trying to link his Nov. 6 opponent, Republican Matt Doheny, to congressional inaction on the farm bill and in general.
Mr. Doheny, a Republican of Watertown, has brought House Speaker John Boehner to the district for a fundraiser, and in early October, Rep. Eric Cantor, the No. 2 in the House, will also visit.
“Matt Doheny has now hosted the two Republican leaders in the House most responsible for holding up the 2012 Farm Bill,” Mr. Owens' campaign manager James Hannaway said. “It's clear he prioritizes national grandstanding and photo ops over listening to New York farmers.”
Mr. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, is one of 35 House members to vote to approve the farm bill in the Agriculture Committee, but the bill has yet to come up for a vote. That could hurt dairy farmers first and hardest.
Last week, Mr. Doheny sent a statement that decried the role of both Republicans and Democrats in the holdup.
Here's a response from Doheny spokesman Jude Seymour:
"A sitting member of Congress is blaming his outsider opponent for a Farm Bill not being passed. Is Bill Owens so out-of-touch that he thinks voters will buy his baloney?
"While our opponent was participating in the dysfunction of Washington this summer, Matt was talking to dozens of farmers about the lack of progress on a comprehensive agriculture policy. Many local farmers shared their concerns about the bill with Matt. Matt shared some of those points with Speaker Boehner and will make a similar outreach to Leader Cantor."
"In closing, we urge our opponent to stop pointing fingers at us and start talking to his own party leadership. Nancy Pelosi and Jim Clyburn - as well as more than 75 Democrats - do not support the bill. Until he shows some leadership and convinces some of them to change their minds, we can't take seriously his claims that he's looking out for farmers in the district."
Noteworthy: Mr. Seymour said that Mr. Doheny shared farm-bill concerns with Mr. Boehner. Previously, Mr. Doheny declined to go into details about his conversation with the speaker.