Candidates in newly drawn 21st District prepare for debate
Thursday night, voters in the North Country will get one final chance to see the two men fighting for the Congressional Seat in New York's 21st District. A one hour debate between Bill Owens and Matt Doheny will air live on YNN. As our Brian Dwyer reports, it's a night they've prepared weeks for, making sure they're ready for anything.
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- In a race all about two men with big time differences, both Bill Owens and Matt Doheny have very similar ways to get ready to talk about them.
"Essentially, do a lot of reading. I sit down and have a couple of different files that I go through," Representative Bill Owens said.
"It requires, you know, deep studying and making sure you understand the issues. Research," said Matt Doheny.
Doheny going a step further, taking that studying and putting it to the test, with mock debates right in the office.
Doheny said, "Create the atmosphere, kind of like you would in athletics practice. Do what you do in practice because that's what it's going to be like in a game.”
"Occasionally, we'll do a short question and answer period, but we don't set up a mock debate,” Owens said.
The candidates say with the changes to the district, now stretching from Jefferson County, through the Adirondacks up to Plattsburgh and down to Saratoga Springs, you not only have to know the issues, but be able to present it in a way voters can get behind.
Owens said, "I try and read and get as much information as I can so that when I actually answer the questions, I'm giving people real information."
"Clearly lay out your position. Understand and answer the questions. And most importantly, make sure you're communicating with people who are actually the watchers," Doheny said.
And it's how a candidate does that that can be key. It's two people who, at least politically, don't often agree. There's a fine line between making points and arguing, being negative and attacking is something that can turn voters off.
Owens said, "I very rarely take the position that attacks the other side. I try and say this is what I would do. I think it's very important to move this to positive plain rather than a negative plain."
"I'm going to be an energetic advocate. I'm always going to be selling the North Country. Making sure every opportunity that we get, we bring it home," said Doheny.
And home is where Doheny will be for the final debate on Thursday night in Watertown.
Both men saying their message will be heard loud and clear.
The debate airs Thursday night with our Liz Benjamin, Bill Carey and Brian Dwyer moderating the proceedings. You can watch it live on YNN starting at 7 p.m.
You can also be in the audience. The doors at Jefferson Community College open at 6 p.m. and seating will be on a first come, first served basis.