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Key forgotten congressional races in New York State

STEPHON JOHNSON and CYRIL JOSH BARKER | 4/12/2011, 5:24 p.m.

While the gubernatorial race has drawn a significant amount of attention, congressional races in New York State are just as important as anything you'll find involving Andrew Cuomo, Carl Paladino, Charles Barron or Jimmy McMillan. Running as the Democratic candidate for New York's 23rd District, Bill Owens is battling Republican Matt Doheny down to the wire on Election Day.

The 23rd District includes parts of Plattsburgh, Watertown, St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, Franklin, Fulton, Madison, Oneida and Oswego.

Owens recently had to defend himself against accusations by Doheny's camp that he was too cozy with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by running an ad that states that he's also voted multiple times with GOP leader John Boehner.

This week, Doheny pulled out of a scheduled debate on October 27 with the candidate, citing scheduling conflicts as his reason for doing so. Thom Hallock, news director for Mountain Lake PBS, said a taping for the debate, which would've been held in Plattsburgh, N.Y., was in stone for over a week and Doheny's people called a week leading up to the debate to say no. There are no other debates planned before Election Day.

In other state congressional races, incumbent Rep. Charlie Rangel faces two challengers in the race for the 15th Congressional District seat in Upper Manhattan. Rangel faces Republican and Jobs Now Party candidate Rev. Michael Faulkner and Independent Party candidate Craig Schley, who is also running under his own party, the VOTE People for Change Party.

In the 6th Congressional District in Queens, Rep. Gregory Meeks faces Republican Ken Reynolds. A community activist, Reynolds has support from the Conservative Party.

In Brooklyn's 11th Congressional District, realtor and conservative candidate Catrell Gore is challenging incumbent Rep. Yvette Clarke. The Conservative Party has not endorsed Gore.