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Democrat Bill owens leads the fundraising race in NY-21.
Democrat Bill owens leads the fundraising race in NY-21.

Owens leads cash race for NY-21

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The latest campaign filings for the 21st district House race show Congressman Bill Owens leading his Republican challenger in the race to raise cash for November's election.

Owens - a Democrat from Plattsburgh -- has raised nearly twice as money as Republican challenger Matt Doheny from Watertown.

But as Brian Mann reports, those straight fundraising numbers may not tell the whole story.

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Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

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From January to March of this year, Bill Owens, raised just over $240,000 and he had $718,000 in cash on hand to fight what is expected to be a tough battle for re-election.

His challenger, Matt Doheny, pulled in roughly $154,000 in the same period and had $417,000 dollars on hand. 

The report shows Owens raising more money, which is typical for an incumbent, and gives him a three hundred thousand dollar advantage for buying crucial campaign ads in the sprawling 21st district, which now includes three media markets in Watertown, Plattsburgh and Glens Falls.

But that money advantage may not be a significant factor. Matt Doheny is a wealthy former investment banker and could likely fuel part of his own campaign down the stretch if cash becomes tight.

This will also be the first congressional election nationwide where so-called SUPER PAC’s using largely unregulated campaign contributions will likely play a big role. 

Republican Governor George Pataki has created the “Tipping Point Super PAC” which is expected to funnel money into congressional races across New York state.

Pataki owns a farm in the town of Essex in the Champlain valley and his spokesman, David Catalfamo, told the Glens Falls Post Star that the 21st congressional district will be a focus.

“As you know,” Catalfamo told the newspaper, the former governor "has a real personal interest in the new District 21.”

In 2009 and 2010, the race saw an infusion of outside spending that at times eclipsed the spending of the actual campaigns. It looks like that could well happen again in 2012.

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