Republican chances of picking up retiring Rep. Bill OwensWilliam (Bill) Lewis OwensSteve Kroft bids farewell to '60 Minutes' after 30 seasons Steve Kroft to retire from '60 Minutes' after 30 years with show '60 Minutes' chief out at CBS amid harassment allegations MORE’s (D-N.Y.) seat increased this week with Republican Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikKlobuchar, Warner introduce bill to limit foreign involvement in US political ads Overnight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One House panel approves 3B defense policy bill MORE nabbing the Independence Party nomination and her former GOP primary challenger officially coming off the ballot.

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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.