Democrat Bill Owens survived one of the most costly and bitter political campaigns in North Country history last night. He defeated Republican businessman Matt Doheny by about 4,000 votes.
It was a rematch of the 2010 race when Owens slipped past Doheny in a race that included a third Conservative Party candidate.
The night began with brutal numbers for Owens, showing him down by wide margins in the 21st District that stretches from Watertown to Plattsburgh.
The G.O.P. pulled out all the stops to try and win back this district, which had been in Republican control until 2009 when Owens won a special election.
As Tuesday night rolled on, the results began to turn in Owens' favor, with the Plattsburgh Democrat picking up big wins in St. Lawrence and Clinton counties.
In his victory speech, Owens said the next Congress has to learn to work together to boost the economy and the middle class.
"It's difficult to explain, but the longer you are doing this, literally the more you feel the complexity of the issues we face and the greater need for intellectual analysis of the issues," he told supporters. "And then rational compromise."
Owens' challenger was left wondering election night just how Republican the North Country's congressional seat still was. He said support for President Obama, who easily carried New York, trickled down the ticket.
"We put a lot of resources against Mr. Owens," Doheny said. "Sometimes, I've learned in politics things just don't go your way."
Doheny worked for Deutsche Bank and started North Country Capital in 2010 to lend money to startups and businesses that want to expand.
Doheny thanked his supporters after conceding a second straight race to Owens.
"That will be it for me, politically," he said.