Small Town Needs A Big Factor In Upstate Congressional Race
The race for a Congressional seat in an vast upstate region known as the North County pits a one-and-a-half term incumbent against the Republican challenger he faced two years ago. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
The 21st Congressional District is mostly rural, with no one population center larger than 30,000 people. That means both candidates are covering a lot of ground this month as they make their case to represent the people who live within its lines.
Republican Matt Doheny ran for the seat and lost in 2010.
"We ran two years ago, had one of the closest races in the country. We are just excited to be out here every day, talking about the issues and the challenges that face us here in upstate," Doheny said.
The candidates have been airing many ads, although it's been Doheny who has done most of the attacking, while Owens has been more focused on presenting his background.
Some Polls show Owens ahead by double digits.
"You're never confident. We understand that the only poll that matters is the one on election day," Owens said.
Owens was first elected to the seat during a 2009 special election. He ran a year later and won what was essentially a three-way race, despite garnering less than 50 percent of the vote. But he became the first Democrat to win a full term in the district in nearly 140 years.
Parts of the upstate economy have been stagnant as industry left many towns decades ago.
Owens brushes off charges that Democrats are more concerned with cities than they are with rural areas and small towns.
"I can tell you that this Democrat's not," said Owens. "I've lived here for 35 years. I've been involved in economic development. I understand what it means to be on the ground doing that."
Doheny is fighting Democratic assertions that he plans to gut social safety nets. He even brought his mother into it saying, "Look, my mom's on Social Security and Medicare. I'm not going to touch it."