Stretching from Watertown to Glens Falls, through the Adirondacks and Plattsburgh, the newly drawn 21st Congressional District is the biggest in New York State. The battle for the seat is just as big. A rematch from two years ago will see Plattsburgh Democrat Bill Owens fighting to keep the job and Watertown businessman Matt Doheny hoping to do what he couldn't in 2010. Our Brian Dwyer takes a closer look at both men and examines how this race is much different than the previous one.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- After results came in back in 2010, YNN spoke exclusively to Republican Matt Doheny.
"How disappointing is it to you that maybe Doug didn't do maybe enough as he could have to make sure his name was out of this?" Brian Dwyer asked him.
"It's deeply disappointing." Doheny responded.
Two years ago, it was clear to Doheny that he lost because Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman, while dropping out of the race, didn't make any effort to get people to not vote for him. Doheny lost by a mere 1,900 votes.
This time around, Doheny has the conservative line and he thinks he's united the right with his message.
"I'm here to make sure we get jobs and economic growth back to the North Country," Doheny said.
But this time around, the man who beat Doheny in 2010, Plattsburgh's Bill Owens, has had time to establish himself in office and get his message out as well.
"I'm concerned about jobs," Rep. Owens said. "I'm concerned about bi-partisanship. I'm concerned about the district as my first priority."
Owens has been in office for about three years now. He says while jobs and the economy are certainly priority number one, people are becoming more and more vocal about the dysfunction in Congress. Things like the Farm Bill just not getting done.
"I vote about 35 percent of the time with Republicans," Owens said. "So I'm making decisions based upon what's good for my constituents not what is necessarily good for the party, if you will."
Doheny has been very vocal about the differences he and Owens have. Whether it be tax breaks for the job creators, as he puts it, health care, education, or in the case of Fort Drum, defense spending.
"My opponent voted for sequestration, which if it doesn't change by January 1st, it's going to cut a half a trillion dollars from our defense budget," Doheny said. "People have to understand that's going to hit us at home."
Doheny pushing for a missile defense program at Drum, while Owens is looking into a Grey Eagle Drone program. Both men say jobs and security for Drum and the surrounding communities would come with them.
Also, Doheny has made it very clear he wants the president's affordable health care act repealed. While Owens says one of his priorities is to make sure people get the education and skills needed to fill more than 3,200 jobs that are currently available.
They do agree on several issues, including water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence, and also the need for updated infrastructure, like cell phone usage and broadband all over the district, including the Adirondacks.
They also agree on another "big" issue, the overall size of the district: Its 12 counties and 17,000 square miles. Both saying they have ways to make sure everyone from Watertown to Glens Falls gets the attention they need.
"All the 12 counties are going to have an office with your congressman being there and with people on the ground on a daily basis," Doheny promised.
"It almost puts me in the middle," Owens said of Plattsburgh's location. “It allows me to get, if you will, east and west and north and south a little bit easier than it did before."
Both men are doing what they can to introduce themselves to the voters out east. They'll be pushing it hard over the next week.
In September, Siena College released a poll that shows Bill Owens with a 13 point lead. But the Doheny camp says that margin has closed considerably, releasing a poll Tuesday that says, "voters most likely to turnout on election day," give Owens only a two point lead.