Doug Hoffman formally kicks off campaign for Congress again

By JOE LoTEMPLIO

Staff Writer, PressRepublican

PLATTSBURGH — As many expected, Douglas Hoffman has formally announced that he will again try to win the congressional seat in New York’s 23rd District.

“I now want to take this opportunity to let you know that I will be formally entering the race for the 23rd Congressional District seat, and this time we will defeat Bill Owens,” Hoffman wrote in a letter to friends and supporters that was released late Monday.

STRONG CAMPAIGN
Hoffman, an accounting-firm owner from Lake Placid, narrowly lost to Owens, a Plattsburgh attorney, in last year’s special election for the seat.

The seat came open after former Congressman John McHugh was appointed secretary of the Army by President Barack Obama last June.

Hoffman ran on the Conservative Party line after failing to get the nod as the Republican candidate.

Republicans chose Dierdre “Dede” Scozzafava, an assemblywoman from Gouverneur in St. Lawrence County as their candidate.

But the choice of Scozzafava did not sit well with Conservatives, who did not like her support of abortion and gay marriage.

Scozzafava’s campaign faltered in the final weeks, and she pulled out of the race three days before the election and wound up throwing her support behind Owens, the Democratic candidate.

Owens was selected as the Democratic candidate from a field of 11 last summer.

His win in November marked the first time a Democrat has held the seat in the 23rd District, which spans 11 counties from Lake Champlain in the east to Lake Ontario in the west, since 1852.

Many attributed his win to the split between Republicans and Conservatives.

WANTS BOTH LINES
Hoffman said Monday that he will seek to run on both the Republican and Conservative lines, as well as the Independence Party line.

He said a poll he commissioned showed that 74 percent of Republicans who vote in primaries thought he should run again, and 71 percent thought he could win the race in November.

“The months ahead will be filled with hard work because I realize you don’t inherit a nomination. You have to work for it,” he said.

“I plan to work hard to deserve the nomination of the Republican, Conservative and Independence Parties and unite them as one team to defeat the agenda of Nancy Pelosi and Bill Owens. I am encouraged that I am the candidate to re-unite all three parties.”

PRIORITIES
Hoffman reiterated his platform from last year of fighting for lower taxes, shrinking the deficit and supporting Fort Drum, dairy farmers and small-business owners.

“I will never back down from taking on the career politicians who conveniently forget that they represent and work for you, average American citizens, not the special interests who fill the back room of Washington with lobbyists and fill the campaign coffers of elected officials with money.”

OTHER CANDIDATES
In addition to Hoffman, State Assemblyman Will Barclay of Pulaski in Jefferson County and investor Matt Doheny, a native of Alexandria Bay who now lives in Watertown, are also considering running as Republicans, as is Franklin County Legislator Paul Maroun of Tupper Lake.

All four have agreed to appear at a candidates forum in Plattsburgh on March 25 hosted by the Upstate New York Tea Party.

FOCUSED ON JOBS
Owens was traveling on Tuesday, but his spokesman, Sean Magers, issued a statement.

“There is a time and place for politics, and Congressman Owens’s main focus is to create more jobs in Upstate New York and help our local economies grow.

“That is what he has been working on in Congress from day one, and he will continue to make job creation his No. 1 priority as our community works to pull their way out of the recession.”

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