The effort to tie one's opponent to leaders in a very unpopular Congress is a time-honored tradition in the north country, but usually it involves Rep. Nancy Pelosi.
Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, is taking a page out of that playbook, claiming that Republican Matt Doheny is putting "his own political priorities ahead of New York farmers" for having House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., campaign for him today. At issue is the farm bill, which expired in late September because House Republicans wouldn't bring it up for a vote (some Republicans, like Mr. Doheny, say that Democrats are also to blame for not providing enough votes on the measure). Some safety-net programs for dairy farmers have expired in the impasse.
Here's a full statement via email from Mr. Owens: "New York farmers were hurt and continue to hurt with each passing day when the Farm Bill expired last month without so much as a vote in Congress. Today, my opponent brings to Watertown Majority Leader Cantor, who is primarily responsible for the voting schedule in Congress. By campaigning with Mr. Cantor today, my opponent has shown that he would put his own political priorities ahead of New York farmers."
Mr. Doheny has said that he wants the farm bill passed, and said he'd tell Mr. Cantor as much.
Mr. Cantor, the No. 2 legislator in the House of Representatives, will tour a Watertown business today with Mr. Doheny, and then attend a fundraiser at the Best Western on Washington Street.