Self-Funder Enters Race to Replace McHugh in N.Y.

Posted June 30, 2009 at 11:29am

Hoping that money talks, Matthew Doheny (R), an investment banker who wants to run in the yet-to-be-scheduled special election to replace Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.), opened a campaign account this week and dropped $500,000 of his own money into it.

Doheny has also hired Brendan Quinn, a top Republican strategist in New York who is the former executive director of the Empire State GOP.

McHugh has been nominated to be secretary of the Army, but the timing of the special election to replace him in his sprawling upstate district will depend largely on when he is confirmed.

Both parties are girding for a very competitive special election, even though the district has been in Republican hands for generations.

The 11 county chairmen for both parties in the 23rd district will select the nominees for the special election. Several Republicans in addition to Doheny have already expressed an interest in running, including Franklin County Legislator Paul Maroun, veterinarian Gary Cooke, accountant Douglas Hoffman and obstetrician/gynecologist Ronald Uva.

Doheny, according to an informed source, decided to drop some of his own money into the race because two well-known elected officials, state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R) and Assemblyman Will Barclay (R), are beginning to reach out to county GOP leaders about the special election — even though neither has formally entered the contest.

On the Democratic side, state Sen. Darrel Aubertine has the right of first refusal for the special election, though former U.S. Attorney Daniel French and Watertown City Councilman Jeffrey Smith are other possibilities. Michael Oot, an attorney who was the Democratic nominee against McHugh in 2008, is also interested in the special election nomination, but he is likely to be edged aside by a better-known candidate.