New York Republican House candidate Matt Doheny has dropped out of the race and endorsed his former GOP opponent, Elise Stefanik, delivering a blow to Democrats’ hopes of keeping retiring Rep. Bill Owens' seat.
Though Stefanik won the GOP primary for New York’s 21st District, Doheny was still slated to have his name on the fall ballot on the Independence Party line.
He said Friday he’d do what he can to get himself taken off the ballot, suggesting he was wary of splitting the GOP vote and leaving an opening for Democrats. In the 2009 special election for the then-23rd District, conservative Doug Hoffman picked up enough traction to force a more moderate Republican out of the race, delivering a win for Democrats.
“I am not going to be Doug Hoffman,” Doheny reportedly said Friday.
Though Obama won the swing district twice, the retirement of Owens and Democrats’ inability to recruit a strong candidate give the GOP an edge. Stefanik, a former Bush White House aide, is considered a strong contender, while Democrats are running political neophyte Aaron Woolf, a documentary filmmaker.
Stefanik thanked Doheny for his support in a statement.
"Now is the time to unite not just Republicans, but members of the Independence Party and Democrats interested in bringing new ideas and a new generation of leadership to Washington on behalf of New York’s 21st Congressional District," she said.