Doheny concedes GOP primary to Stefanik

Elise Stefanik appears to have won the Republican primary in the North Country’s Congress race.

Matt Doheny called his 29-year-old rival to concede defeat to her around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. It was Doheny’s fourth failed attempt to gain the seat, including general election losses to Rep. Bill Owens in 2010 and 2012.

With 75 percent of polling places reporting by 11:21 p.m., Stefanik led Doheny by a percentage margin of 60 to 40, according to unofficial results from the state Board of Elections. Polls closed at 9 p.m.

Stefanik leads in Franklin, Essex and almost every county so far, except the part of Herkimer County in New York’s 21st Congressional District. In Jefferson County, where Doheny lives in Watertown, it’s very close.

If Stefanik’s lead holds, she will carry the Republican Party banner into the Nov. 4 congressional election. The other candidates are Aaron Woolf for the Democratic Party and Matt Funiciello for the Green Party. The winner of that election will succeed Owens, of Plattsburgh, who is stepping down.

Today’s primary doesn’t necessarily knock either Republican out of the race. Stefanik is the chosen candidate of the Conservative Party and Doheny of the Independence Party. In debates, they didn’t say whether they would stop running if they lose the primary.

Stefanik, who lives in Willsboro, is watching the results come in at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls, Doheny at the Savory restaurant in Watertown – 180 miles apart across the huge, 12-county 21st District, which stretches from Lake Ontario to Lake Champlain and from the Mohawk Valley to the Canadian border.

Republican state Chairman Ed Cox congratulated Stefanik on her win, saying in a press release, “Elise represents the next generation of Republican leaders and is poised to win the general election and go to Congress to push back against the Obama agenda and promote opportunity, economic growth and the repeal of Obamacare.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee issued a less complimentary statement.

“Elise Stefanik’s victory in the Republican primary race to the right proves just how far Karl Rove and the Washington special interests will go to add another loyal rubber stamp to their ranks,” DCCC Executive Director Kelly Ward said. “The Koch Brothers and billionaires like them are behind Elise Stefanik because they know she will stack the deck in favor of the special interests and the ultra-wealthy at the expense of hardworking New York families and seniors.”

Stefanik, the endorsed candidate of the 21st District’s Republican county committees, was showered with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of campaign ads from national super PACs like Rove’s American Crossroads.