Republican chances of picking up retiring Rep. Bill OwensWilliam (Bill) Lewis Owens'60 Minutes' chief out at CBS amid harassment allegations Races to watch in Tuesday’s primaries Rural voters speak loudly in midterms, Democrats pay the price MORE’s (D-N.Y.) seat increased this week with Republican Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikDem gun efforts run into Senate GOP bulwark Overnight Health Care: Lawmakers get deal to advance long-stalled drug pricing bill | House votes to condemn Trump's anti-ObamaCare push | Eight House Republicans join with Dems | Trump officials approve Medicaid expansion in Maine The 8 Republicans who voted against Trump's anti-ObamaCare push MORE nabbing the Independence Party nomination and her former GOP primary challenger officially coming off the ballot.


Businessman Matt Doheny was originally the Independence Party nominee, and his name was slated to appear on the ballot this fall, running the risk of splitting the GOP vote and leaving an opening for Democrat Aaron Woolf to break through.

But after Stefanik defeated him in the primary, Doheny endorsed the former White House aide and asked to be removed from the ballot.

To do so, the Conservative Party nominated Doheny for a state Supreme Court judgeship, one of the only remaining tactics to remove him from the ballot that late in the race. 

With Doheny’s name off the ballot, Stefanik’s path in the general election is largely clear. A recent independent poll conducted by Siena College showed her leading Woolf, a relatively unknown documentary filmmaker, by 13 points, 46 percent-33 percent among likely voters.

The upstate New York swing district is the state’s most rural and has long been a target for Republicans, who saw their opening there widen with Owens's retirement.

In a statement, Stefanik thanked the Independence Party for the endorsement and Doheny for removing himself from the race.

“I also want to thank Matt Doheny for providing the Republicans a great opportunity to win back this seat serving the people of the 21st District,” Stefanik said.