SPECULATOR -- Republican candidates Matthew A. Doheny of Watertown and Elise M. Stefanik of Willsboro have agreed to meet in two televised debates before the June 24 federal primary election.
The primary will decide which has the Republican line in the Nov. 4 general election for the 21st Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
"I think it's important we give voters the opportunity to see us side by side and hear our views on the future of the North Country," Doheny says.
The debates will be hosted by Time Warner Cable and WWNY in Watertown and their partners in public broadcasting, including Mountain Lake PBS, North Country Public Radio and WPBS.
The tentative dates are May 27 for the Time Warner debate and June 12 for the Watertown debate.
"We're excited to participate in the debates and present our ideas about growing our economy and creating jobs throughout the North Country," Stefanik says.
Incumbent Rep. William "Bill" Owens, a Democrat from Plattsburgh, is not running for re-election. Instead, the chairmen of the 12 Democrat county committees of the district have picked filmmaker and grocer Aaron Woolf of Elizabethtown and Brooklyn as their candidate. He will also appear on the Working Families line.
OFF THE BALLOT
As of press time it appeared only the Republican Party would see a primary election June 24.
The nominating petitions of Democrat Stephen W. Burke of Macomb and Green Donald L. Hassig of Colton were invalidated by the state Board of Elections April 30.
Burke was 134 short of the 1,250 valid signatures needed once the commissioners scratched 175 of them. Hassig's petitions were tossed because they arrived after the deadline for filing.
Burke is appealing the commissioners' decision in state Supreme Court in Albany. If the court upholds the Board of Elections Woolf will not face a primary challenge.
With Hassig booted off the ballot Green Matthew J. Funiciello of S. Glens Falls is guaranteed his party's line in the Nov. 4 general election.
Hassig was the Green Party's candidate for the 21st Congressional District in 2012. He told another newspaper he did not understand the mailing instructions for the petitions.
Owens is the first Democrat to hold the 21st Congressional District seat since the Civil War. He won it in a 2009 special election after former Congressman John McHugh resigned to become secretary of the army.
The district stretches from Lake Ontario to Lake Champlain and includes 12 counties: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer (partial), Jefferson, Lewis, Saratoga (partial), St. Lawrence, Warren and Washington.