Those of us who muse about the coming race in NY23 spend a lot of time on the three Republican candidates vying for the nomination.
No matter who wins the nod they will face Rep. William Owens (D-Plattsburgh) who has been in office a scant three months but so far is doing all the right things as an incumbent to get reelected.
At a meeting I was at yesterday, Mr. Owens was affable, engaging and seems to have mastered the art of politics even though he entered that field late in life at age 60. He says he likes his new job and finds it interesting and challenging.
Plus this fellow just looks Congressional....like out of central casting.
Plattsburgh's most successful lawyer until he ran for Congress has the distinguished look and air to him and he is systematically reaching out to the many NY23 residents who still know little about him. Last night, it was the Chamber After Hours event in Watertown.
So he will be a strong candidate, especially when armed with incumbent levels of money to run the best campaign gurus like June O'Neill can muster.
Before I am accused of being too obsequious,let me say like anyone he can be beat.
It is still a center-right district, with the exception of St. Lawrence County. Mr. Owens vote in favor of health care reform, his support of cap & trade, and his support for trying KSM and the gang in NYC are positions out of step with enough people to cause voters pause. Mr. Owens linkage to the unpopular House speaker and a President with declining numbers makes him vulnerable.
Still, its going to take a different style campaign than Republicans usually muster up here. Voters want a fresh face, with energy and the ability to focus on economic issues. It will take money and organization and a lot of shoe leather.
If I were a Republican I would be looking first for a candidate who takes their toe out of the water and dives in. Someone who says I want this job for these reasons and I am going to run hard to defeat Mr. Owens.
So far, there is too much equivocating on the GOP side.