PLATTSBURGH - The race for New York's 23rd Congressional district remains a three-way competition as the runner-up in the Republican primary has pledged to continue his campaign.
Doug Hoffman conceded defeat to his opponent, Watertown investor Matt Doheny, Sept. 23, after results from absentee ballots confirmed Doheny's victory in the Republican primary by a margin of less than 800 votes throughout the 11-county district.
But Hoffman, a Saranac Lake-based accounting firm owner, pledged to "keep his word to the New York State Conservative Party and to all those who believe in conservative principles, honesty and integrity" by staying in the race on the Conservative Party line.
Doheny and Hoffman will now face incumbent Democrat Bill Owens, a Plattsburgh attorney, in the general election Nov. 2.
At a Sept. 23 press conference at his Plattsburgh campaign office, Doheny repeatedly claimed to be unphased by Hoffman's decision, virtually ignoring his presence in the race.
"I'm focused on Bill Owens," Doheny said repeatedly, "and our strategy for the past nine months is going to be the same in the next 40 days: go out and spread our message... and make sure people understand that I am the clear choice."
Hoffman's decision calls to mind his 2009 campaign where, running as a Conservative, he cut down Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava, whom many considered too liberal-leaning.
Hoffman ended up finishing a close second to Owens, but many saw the split among Republican and Conservative voters as the major factor in Owens' win in a district held by Republicans since the Civil War.
Clinton County Republican Party chairman Donald Lee, who was present at Doheny's press conference, said Hoffman should drop out of the race.
"I will issue a call for him to step down right now," said Lee. "I think, to me, that would be the only ethical thing to do."