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Mayor Graham joins Stefanik in Watertown campaigning

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WATERTOWN — Green Street resident Joyce V. Taylor was munching on a sugar cookie when 21st District Congressional candidate Elise M. Stefanik came calling on Sunday afternoon for her vote in the Republican primary.

Mrs. Taylor was surprised the candidate was joined by Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham and campaign staffer Anthony Pileggi, who showed up to her door enlisting support for the June 24 primary.

“Everybody is coming to see me,” she told the candidate, saying she was surprised by the visit on a sunny, summer-like day.

“Well, I’m with them,” Mayor Graham responded. “We have a great candidate here.”

Ms. Stefanik, Willsboro, spent a few hours in opponent Matthew A. Doheny’s backyard on Sunday, going door-to-door on the city’s southeast side. The two Republicans hope to face Democratic candidate Aaron G. Woolf and Green Party candidate Matthew J. Funiciello in the November general election.

It was the first chance for some potential voters to meet and talk with Ms. Stefanik, who seemed to get a generally favorable response. Among the doors she knocked on was Watertown City Councilman Stephen A. Jennings. They talked for a few minutes before she headed off to another house.

Wearing stylish gray sneakers with fluorescent pink laces and yellow accenting, she was ready for the walk. Each time she stopped at a house, Ms. Stefanik told potential voters she’s running an “energetic” and “positive” campaign. She tried to assure them that she was ready to help lead the country in a different direction.

The mayor, a previous supporter of Mr. Doheny in his two previous runs against Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, came out early to support her. This year, Mayor Graham has acted as an adviser to her campaign.

When she knocked on his door, Thompson Boulevard resident Edward C. Ringwald, 70, said he was keeping an open mind about who he was going to end up voting for. Two years ago, he supported Mr. Owens, who is not seeking re-election.

A self-described political junkie, he was impressed by Ms. Stefanik’s showing in last week’s debate against Mr. Doheny, but said she was a little too conservative on gun control and the health care overhaul.

“It’s an uphill battle because you’re more conservative than me,” he told her.

However, questions about her residency don’t phase him, he said. Mr. Doheny, who grew up in Watertown and still lives here, has criticized her for not living in the district until she decided to run.

She’s making a first run for public office after working for a time as a policy adviser in the George W. Bush White House and as director of debate prep for Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Mr. Ryan will be in Watertown tonight campaigning for her.

At one house, Ms. Stefanik hoped to meet a 104-year-old Thompson Boulevard man, but he was not available. At another, a woman cleaning the interior of her son’s car was startled when Ms. Stefanik approached and she did not see her coming.

After the candidate left, the woman, who declined to identify herself, said she has not been following too much of the race.

Mr. Doheny spent his Sunday at a sportsmen’s club in Adams and at a meet-and-greet in Lisbon before heading to Lake Placid for a meeting of the towns and villages association this morning. Meanwhile, Mr. Woolf will be in Watertown during the next days, first for meeting today with union officials and then for a jobs tour on Tuesday.

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