Two-time Republican congressional candidate Matt Doheny is making a third bid for New York’s 21st District, he announced Wednesday.
Rep. Bill Owens’s (D-N.Y.) decision to retire made the district more competitive for Republicans, but Doheny’s entry into the race complicates their chances, as the party had begun to coalesce behind an already announced candidate, former George W. Bush official Elise Stefanik.
In a statement, Doheny said he was “humbled by strangers who stopped me in the grocery store or at the gas station and urged me to run again.”
“I’m going to be out there every day working hard to get elected and be a good representative for them in Congress,” he said.
Still, Democrats have picked a political unknown, documentary filmmaker Aaron Woolf, after more prominent potential candidates took their names out of contention.
Doheny poured hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money into his previous races and is expected to do so again. He lost in 2010, when Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman split the Republican vote, and again in 2012, dogged by attacks on his wealth and scrutiny over his personal life.
He was known to be considering a bid, and earlier this month, a survey conducted by his old polling firm surfaced that showed Doheny leading Stefanik by a heavy margin.
But he’ll have to fight for the party’s nomination. Stefanik has received the backing of 11 of the 12 county GOP chairmen in the district, and at least one said in a Wednesday night release he’d stand by her.
One national Republican previously said the prospect of another Doheny campaign concerns the party.
“Elise Stefanik would probably be the best candidate at this point because Democrats would be able to attack Doheny with the same line of attacks they used the last time he ran,” the Republican said.