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Matt Doheny was a teen in Alexandria Bay when David Martin represented the 23rd district in Washington for six terms. "I certainly remember him fondly while watching him on TV. Some of the TV stations we have here would cover him quite frequently," recalls Martin.
17 years later, Martin was in his element in front of the cameras yesterday. He wasted no time in taking aim at Doug Hoffman. He called the Lake Placid accountant a “phantom candidate” in the district. Martin said, "I don’t know Mr. Hoffman. And I don’t live up here anymore. But if you do live up here, I understand you have to be pretty lucky, I understand, to meet him. He doesn’t get out among the people."
Martin said Doheny, by contrast, shows more enthusiasm for meeting people and learning the issues of the district than Martin himself did 30 years ago.
Doheny and Hoffman are racing toward a September 14th primary that’s become something of a civil war for the soul of the North Country GOP. Doheny has the support of most Republican party leaders, Hoffman the backing of Tea party activists and the Conservative party.
Speaking Wednesday night in Port Henry, Hoffman lashed out against the GOP establishment. "And we’re not going to represent big unions, big parties, big bosses, and worry about getting re-elected because of who put us there. If I get elected, you put me there," said Hoffman.
In Watertown, David Martin responded directly to the “party bosses” comment. He defended county chairmen as hard-working volunteers representing voters. And he urged the loser of the primary to step aside and support the victor. "To do otherwise is to take away a Republican seat and give it to Nancy Pelosi," says Martin.
Hoffman has hinted he’ll run on the Conservative line if he loses the GOP primary, a possibility that Democrats love.
Asked the difference between himself and Hoffman, Doheny called them both “good conservatives”. But Doheny said he’s the one who can beat Democrat Bill Owens in November. Doheny says, "Why me? Because I have the hustle, the drive, the intellect, the ability, and most importantly, I can actually win. And at the end of the day, that’s what’s most important."
Doheny also gave his position on some issues yesterday. He re-iterated his opposition to same-sex marriage. He said he supports Arizona's tough new immigration law and wouldn't cut any of the military's budget.
Doheny and former Congressman David Martin will be campaigning across the 23rd district through Saturday.