1:18 pm Jan. 11, 2012
Upstate congressman Bill Owens has formed a new leadership PAC, according to the F.E.C. website.
The leadership PAC, called Adirondack Jobs PAC, doesn't allow Owens to spend directly on his re-election, but does permit him to spend some of the money on his own travel and to add more staff. And it allows him to support other candidates for re-election who might, in turn, want to help Owens.
Owens, an independent who was elected as a Democrat, won a wild three-way special election in New York's 23rd Congressional District in 2009, after John McHugh, the Republican incumbent, was plucked to serve in the Obama administration. Owens survived another close race in 2010.
His Republican opponent in that race, Matt Doheny, has announced his intention to run again, and has begun raising money for a re-match. Doheny recently named Harry Wilson, a businessman and former candidate for state comptroller, to head a 50-person finance team.
Owens was helped in both races by the presence of Doug Hoffman, who drew Tea Party backing in the 2009 race, and then won more than 10,000 votes on the Conservative Line in 2010, even though he had ended his candidacy before the election. Owens won by less than 2,000 votes.
Leadership PACs have become one more way for marginal members to help themselves. Long Island Representative Tim Bishop, who barely won re-election in 2010, formed one in November.
CORRECTION: The original version of this article said Owens beat Doheny by less than 4,000 votes. In fact, he won by just 1,995 votes.