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Stefanik endorsed by Independence Party as Doheny gets judgeship nomination

First published: September 23, 2014 at 9:40 pm
Last modified: September 23, 2014 at 9:40 pm

WATERTOWN — The state Independence Party today endorsed congressional candidate Elise M. Stefanik.

Ms. Stefanik, a former White House policy adviser from Willsboro, had already secured the Republican and Conservative Party nominations in the race for New York’s 21st Congressional District.

Ms. Stefanik is running to replace Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, who is not seeking re-election.

Also in the race are Democrat and Working Families Party candidate Aaron G. Woolf and Green Party candidate Matthew J. Funiciello.

“I am honored to accept the Independence Party nomination,” Ms. Stefanik said in a news release. “I’m committed to working with leaders across our District to unite the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party to ensure a new generation of leadership representing the North Country in Washington.”

Thomas S. Connolly, the vice chairman of the state Independence Party, endorsed Ms. Stefanik in a statement.

“We are proud to support Elise’s candidacy for the 21st District,” Mr. Connolly said. “Since announcing her campaign, Elise has worked tirelessly to earn the trust of voters district wide, and we are pleased she will be appearing on the Independence line this November.”

The party had previously endorsed Matthew A. Doheny, a Watertown investment fund manager who Ms. Stefanik defeated in the June Republican primary.

According to the blog State of Politics, the state Conservative Party nominated Mr. Doheny for a judgeship in Brooklyn. The same party rejected Mr. Doheny’s bid for the party nomination for the 21st district seat, insuring Ms. Stefanik will appear on that line.

New York state makes it difficult to get off a party line once a candidate is on it. The only legal way, short of a court order, is by the death of the nominee or the nominee obtaining a nomination for another elective post, which allows his or her removal from the ballot. The only nominations available in the state at this point are Supreme Court judgeships.

Calls to Mr. Doheny and Independence Party chairman Frank M. MacKay went unanswered Tuesday morning.

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Looking deeper: Experts analyze NY21 attack ads

First published: September 23, 2014 at 12:42 pm
Last modified: September 23, 2014 at 5:24 pm

WATERTOWN — A swanky city loft, a barn, a senior center, ominous voices and unflattering pictures — this year’s crop of political attack ads is fairly typical, though there are some facts and nuances worth noting, according to experts at Syracuse University.

Both major party candidates in the race for New York’s 21st Congressional District — Democrat Aaron G. Woolf and Republican Elise M. Stefanik — have released ads attacking each other for their positions on Social Security.

Those ads, “Storming Out” from Mr. Woolf and “Protect” from Ms. Stefanik, are pretty standard for campaigns around the country, although there are some things about Ms. Stefanik’s ad that make it atypical, according to Shana Gadarian, professor of political communication at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Ms. Stefanik’s ad uses her position on Social Security to try to “wedge away” support from Mr. Woolf by using gender stereotypes to her advantage on an issue where Democrats are usually perceived as stronger.

“There are all these stereotypes that go along with being a female candidate. One of them is that you’re more caring and that you’re better for vulnerable populations, including the elderly,” Ms. Gadarian said. “So she’s doing something really smart. She’s using stereotypes to her advantage and she’s going after Democrats on an issue that they typically are better on, or are seen as better on.”

But there are some inconsistencies in Ms. Stefanik’s ad, according to Eric Kingson, a professor of social work at Syracuse University who has lent his imprimatur to the Woolf campaign in the past.

Ms. Stefanik’s ad references a $3,287 cut in Social Security that would result if Mr. Woolf’s proposals for the pension program are put into place.

In August, Mr. Woolf attacked Ms. Stefanik for using the word “modernize” as a code word for privatizing Social Security and Medicare — a charge Ms. Stefanik later refuted, saying she wanted to make changes to the program to ensure its longevity.

Mr. Woolf said he would make no changes to Social Security, whose primary source of funding is projected to run dry by 2033, but would instead shore up the program by working to grow the economy — an approach John L. Palmer, dean emeritus of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and a former public trustee for Medicare and Social Security, called “not responsible” because it would not be enough to bolster Social Security on its own.

In the intervening weeks, Mr. Woolf has put forward additional proposals to keep Social Security solvent, including increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, and closing tax loopholes for wealthy individuals and corporations.

According to Mr. Kingson, the $3,287 figure used in the Stefanik ad correlates to a projection about what would happen to Social Security if Congress fails to act in any capacity to support the program made by the Social Security Board of Trustees.

According to Mr. Kingson, Ms. Stefanik’s attack ad is “disingenuous” because it exaggerates Mr. Woolf’s position and fails to account for some of the cuts that would inevitably result if some of Ms. Stefanik’s proposals, including raising the retirement age for future generations and using a chained-consumer price index to account for inflation, are enacted.

Mr. Woolf’s ad misses the mark on taking Ms. Stefanik to task for her Washington, D.C. connections because it tries to incorporate too many messages into a 30-second spot, according to Ms. Gadarian.

“In a 30-second ad there may be too much going on,” Ms. Gadarian said. “I can’t tell what I’m supposed to take from this. Is it that she’s an outsider? Or that she doesn’t have a position? Or that she only cares about the party and not the people? So I’m sure exactly what I’m supposed to get from this ad.”

A third ad, sponsored by the National Republican Congressional Committee, is effective in using an indirect approach to portray Mr. Woolf as an outsider from Manhattan, with creepy crawlies in the kitchen of the Brooklyn businesses he co-owns, Ms. Gadarian said.

“It’s not so explicit to say that he’s dirty, that he’s a dirty politician, but it’s to say, ‘Oh, he’s different and there’s something kind of unclean about this race that he’s running,’” Ms. Gadarian said.

The ad, “The Get Together,” features three of what the producers imagine are Mr. Woolf’s closest friends discussing the candidate’s troubles with health code violations at Urban Rustic and The Lodge, a grocery store and restaurant Mr. Woolf co-owns in Brooklyn.

Though both businesses now have A-ratings from the Department of Health, the ad links Mr. Woolf to a general feeling of unease by associating him with the “roaches and rats” mentioned in the ad.

It capitalizes on that disgust by making it seem as though Mr. Woolf is attempting something underhanded by seeking to become a representative for an upstate congressional district.

Mr. Woolf, a documentary filmmaker, owns a home in Elizabethtown.

Ms. Stefanik, a former White House policy adviser, lives in Willsboro. She works at her family’s plywood distribution company, which is headquartered in Albany County, outside the district.

While reports show that the Democratic Congressional Committee has outraised the NRCC, DCCC-sponsored ads are yet to be seen in district.

This could be the result of a recent WWNY TV-7/Siena College poll that shows Mr. Woolf trailing Ms. Stefanik by 13 points, according to Ms. Gadarian.

“National party organizations want to put their money where it will be the most useful and to the extent that your candidate, in the latest polling, is down by double digits, its unclear that that’s the most useful place for it,” Ms. Gadarian said.

In May, the Associated Press reported that DCCC reserved $800,000 in TV advertising time at stations in or near the district. Those reservations do not necessarily mean that ads will run, but if Mr. Woolf shows some momentum in the polls, that could change, according to Ms. Gadarian.

“The better you do in the polls, the more money the national party gives to your campaign individually, and so then you can run more ads and you start to do better, so there’s kind of this momentum aspect,” she said.

On Tuesday, Roll Call reported that House Majority PAC — a Democratic political action committee — cancelled a $300,000 TV ad buy in the district.

To view “Storming Out,” visit: http://wdt.me/YhKRau

To view “Protect,” visit: http://wdt.me/9ST78J

To view “The Get Together,” visit: http://wdt.me/KPb6Jt

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Police: Monday’s attempted kidnapping did not occur

First published: September 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm
Last modified: September 23, 2014 at 3:14 pm

WATERTOWN — City police are now saying that a report of an attempted kidnapping of a woman on Coffeen Street on Monday did not happen.

In a news release Tuesday afternoon, Detective Lieutenant Joseph R. Donoghue Sr. said that the incident did not occur.

On Monday, police were told two people in a black Sports Utility Vehicle tried to grab a 26-year-old woman on Coffeen St., near Byrne Dairy Store in Watertown.

“At this time, the investigation shows there was there was no kidnapping attempt,” Lt. Donoghue said.

However, the investigation is continuing, he said.

Police are not releasing the name of the woman at this time. While the attempted kidnapping case is now closed, police are “now looking how it was reported to us,” Lt. Donoghue said.

On Monday, a police dispatcher said a caller told police at 12:17 p.m. Monday that a man tried to force his girlfriend into a black sport utility vehicle. Police looked for two suspects, both described as white men.

Police were told the woman was walking on the sidewalk near Byrne Dairy, 1003 Coffeen St., when the SUV pulled up toward her. They were told the abduction attempt occurred after the driver spoke with the woman and then the SUV fled toward downtown, according to police.

During their investigation, police said they evaluated security camera footage from Byrne Dairy but could not identify the vehicle.

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Stefanik endorsed by Independence Party as Doheny gets judgeship nomination

First published: September 23, 2014 at 9:44 am
Last modified: September 23, 2014 at 1:23 pm

WATERTOWN — The state Independence Party today endorsed congressional candidate Elise M. Stefanik.

Ms. Stefanik, a former White House policy adviser from Willsboro, had already secured the Republican and Conservative Party nominations in the race for New York’s 21st Congressional District.

Ms. Stefanik is running to replace Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, who is not seeking re-election.

Also in the race are Democrat and Working Families Party candidate Aaron G. Woolf and Green Party candidate Matthew J. Funiciello.

“I am honored to accept the Independence Party nomination,” Ms. Stefanik said in a news release. “I’m committed to working with leaders across our District to unite the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party to ensure a new generation of leadership representing the North Country in Washington.”

Thomas S. Connolly, the vice chairman of the state Independence Party, endorsed Ms. Stefanik in a statement.

“We are proud to support Elise’s candidacy for the 21st District,” Mr. Connolly said. “Since announcing her campaign, Elise has worked tirelessly to earn the trust of voters district wide, and we are pleased she will be appearing on the Independence line this November.”

The party had previously endorsed Matthew A. Doheny, a Watertown investment fund manager who Ms. Stefanik defeated in the June Republican primary.

According to the blog State of Politics, the state Conservative Party nominated Mr. Doheny for a judgeship in Brooklyn. The same party rejected Mr. Doheny’s bid for the party nomination for the 21st district seat, insuring Ms. Stefanik will appear on that line.

New York state makes it difficult to get off a party line once a candidate is on it. The only legal way, short of a court order, is by the death of the nominee or the nominee obtaining a nomination for another elective post, which allows his or her removal from the ballot. The only nominations available in the state at this point are Supreme Court judgeships.

Calls to Mr. Doheny and Independence Party chairman Frank M. MacKay went unanswered Tuesday morning.

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Free waste tire disposal events to be held Saturday in Ogdensburg, Gouverneur

First published: September 23, 2014 at 12:51 pm
Last modified: September 23, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Two free waste tire disposal events will he held Saturday in Ogdensburg and Gouverneur.

Tires may be dropped off from 8 a.m. to noon that day at the Ogdensburg Transfer Station, 522 County Route 28A, or the Gouverneur Transfer Station, 1831 Route 11.

The events are hosted by state Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, in conjunction with the St. Lawrence County Highway Department.

“I’d like to thank the St. Lawrence County Highway Department, especially it’s superintendent, Donald Chambers, for their help in hosting these very important events which will give residents the opportunity to get rid of waste tires without the typical $15 fee,” Sen. Ritchie said in a news release.

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State puts up website about heroin addiction

First published: September 23, 2014 at 10:43 am
Last modified: September 23, 2014 at 10:43 am

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York has put up a new website with information about heroin and prescription opioid addiction and where to go for help.

According to state officials, admissions last year statewide for abuse and addiction treatment for those drugs rose to more than 89,000 with the largest increase among people between 18 and 24.

A law signed in June requires the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to create a public awareness and education campaign, which includes the website with information about signs of opioid abuse and addiction and public service announcements.

The website is http://combatheroin.ny.gov/

The state is also expanding training and use by emergency personnel of naloxone to counteract overdoses.

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