Former NRCC Chairman Endorses in Competitive New York Primary

The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 1994 Republican revolution is backing investment banker Matt Doheny in the race for New York's 21st District.  

Doheny, who launched his campaign for the open seat on Wednesday, announced the endorsement of former Rep. Bill Paxon, R-N.Y., in a release shared first with CQ Roll Call. In a statement, Paxon sought to undercut a perceived weakness — that Doheny already lost the district twice as the GOP nominee — and instead portrayed it as a strength.  

"In my judgment, Bill Owens is not seeking re-election solely because of the tireless groundwork laid over the last four years by Matt Doheny," he wrote. "Now, Matt will have the opportunity to finish the job he started in 2010 and win this seat for the GOP." Doheny faces a competitive June 24 primary with former Bush White House aide Elise Stefanik. On the Democratic side, documentary filmmaker Aaron Woolf was endorsed last week by the district's party leaders.  

Paxon compared Doheny to Newt Gingrich and retiring Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., both candidates who twice ran unsuccessfully for Congress before finally winning a seat in the House.  

The former congressman is now a lobbyist at Akin Gump. He represented parts of upstate New York around Buffalo and Rochester. His old district neighbors parts of the 21st.  

This is a seat to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Bill Owens. New York’s 21st District is rated a Tossup  by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.