Five takeaways from the GOP debate for NY21

ALBANY — With the Republican primary on June 24 just three weeks away, the two GOP candidates, Matt Doheny and Elise Stefanik, met in the state capital for their first televised debate.

Here’s what you need to know about what’s shaping up to be one of the country’s most vital races.


The candidates sparred right after the opening bell on an issue that has become central to the campaign:

North Country roots.

Doheny, 43, an investment banker who was raised in Alexandria Bay and lives in Watertown, jabbed Stefanik, a former White House aide who was born in Albany County and moved to her family's seasonal home in Willsboro last year to run for office, in debate moderator Liz Benjamin’s opening question about understanding the needs of the largest congressional district east of the Mississippi.

“Part of my advantage is actually growing up and living in the district, unlike my opponent,” said Doheny. “It’s home, you actually know what the folks need and what the issues are. Partly from where you have worked, partly from where you have continued to live and partly from your knowledge.”

Stefanik, 29, cited the year she has spent traveling the district listening to voters and floated the idea of a mobile congressional office that annually would visit each of the district’s 194 towns and villages. “The district office comes to you to hear about your concerns firsthand,” she said.

On her residential status:

“I work there today and I plan on living here and raising my family here,” she later said, referring to Willsboro, her adopted hometown in Essex County.

Each time the issue was brought up — it surfaced in discussions on military affairs, mailings from the Doheny campaign and the outside money that is pouring into the race — Stefanik segued into her family’s small business background… and also managed to get a jab in:

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