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Democratic Congressional Candidate Rallies Supporters In Plattsburgh

Former Rep. Bill Owens, left
WAMC/Pat Bradley

A new WWNY-7 News/Siena College poll released Monday night shows Republican Elise Stefanik leading her challengers in New York’s 21st district congressional race by 18 points. With less than a week left before voting begins, Democrat Aaron Woolf spent part of Tuesday rallying his supporters in Plattsburgh, with help from retiring Congressman Bill Owens.

The WWNY-7News/Siena College poll has Republican Elise Stefanik with 50 percent to Democrat Aaron Woolf’s 32 percent. Green candidate Matt Funiciello garnered 11 percent in the poll taken October 20 to the 22nd.

At his Plattsburgh campaign headquarters, Woolf told supporters that his campaign’s momentum is building and voter turnout is essential.  “Voter turnout is huge and it’s one of the places where we think we have an incredible edge. You take a look at this room. You take a look at our four district offices. You take a look at the rooms full of people that are making phone calls and knocking on doors. We know that if we bring out the people that already agree with us, we win this election.”

Retiring Congressman Bill Owens reminded supporters that during one of his elections he was trailing badly.  “I think Aaron’s well positioned to make that break to the winner’s circle. Some of you may recall in my first election I was down by more than a few points the night before the election. So one never knows. The work that’s been done here by you folks has been critical to that process of getting out the vote.  That’s going to be what turns this election both here in this district and really throughout the country.”

Woolf believes there’s a sizeable part of the electorate that is only now beginning to pay attention to the race between three political newcomers.  Former town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Democrat Art Lefebvre doesn’t believe the independent voter has been factored into polling.  “They are a group that wants to look at the candidates more seriously. If they get out to vote and listen to the issues it could change the outcome of this election,  contrary to what the polls show.”

Congressman Owens says the end game strategy is all about getting people to the polls.  “You’ve got a couple factors at play here. One is when you do polling today you’re limited to people who have land lines. You’re really not contacting everybody. So that’s one factor. The other is the get out the vote is the most important issue. It was in my campaigns. It will be in this campaign.”  

Owens adds that his experience has taught him the only poll that matters occurs on election day.  “All of this jockeying that’s going on, whether it’s in this district or it’s around the country, the get out the vote will be the critical difference.”

Stefanik’s spokesman Lenny Alcivar says the poll enhances their confidence that voters will turn out for them,  but they are not taking anything for granted in the last week of the campaign.  “Every day that passes we’ve seen more and more support for Elise and for her ideas. So we feel confident but there are seven days to go in this election and that’s a long time. So we’re going to continue to run like we’re five points behind taking nothing for granted. We think that’s a mark not just of our campaign but it’s testament to how hard Elise has worked.”

In the poll of 21st district voters, Democrat Andrew Cuomo leads Republican Rob Astorino 43 to 39 percent in the race for governor. Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins polled at 10 percent.

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