The mayor of Watertown, New York, one Jeff Graham, is a blogger, and this is his report on the District 23 race. Graham endorsed Hoffman. The blog has a sad ending as he contemplates his community’s loss of a seat that had been occupied by a local Republican. Plattsburgh attorney William Owens will represent NNY [north New York] in Congress after winning a special election today over Lake Placid businessman and Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman. The victory by some four thousand votes was aided in large part by Mr. Owens strong showings in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties. It appears the effort to drive down Hoffman numbers in Greater Watertown and the withdrawal of DeDe Scozzafava and her enthusiastic backing of Owens made a big difference. Credit veteran political operative June O’Neill for brokering the deal that brought Scozzafava’s core vote to Owens. Another factor is once Scozzafava bailed, it would take upper 40s to win and getting a third party candidate to that level is not easy. A third factor, to some — Scozzafava became the victim and Hoffman was the bad guy. For Watertown, an awakening as for years we have had our own Congressman who grew up on South Hamilton Street and worked in City Hall. With John McHugh gone, it now appears a man few know will represent us, and the Democrats gain another vote in the House of Representitive. Also, it must be said, the Republican party in New York is as close to death as you can get, holding only two of 29 Congressional seats and all statewide offices held by Democrats, who also hold both houses of the Legislature. After redistricting, it could be a 50 year lock for the Dems. As for Doug Hoffman, his rise this year was impressive and his campaign generally flawless. As for Mr. Owens…he stayed on message and didn’t make mistakes. I congratulate Mr. Owens on his impressive win and wish him the best in this new duties. I am sure the residents of the district will join me in offering whatever help is needed to our new Congressman as he seeks to learn more about the many people who now depend on him for representation. * * * * I might add here that the endorsement of Owen by the Watertown newspaper is credited by other observers with having a big impact on the race.
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