After weeks of silence on whether he would run a third time in NY-21, Republican Matt Doheny has announced he intends to challenge the party favorite, Elise Stefanik, for the GOP line.

“I was honored that more than 120,000 voters chose me to represent them during the last election,” Doheny said in a statement released early this morning.

“Many told me they appreciated my real-world experience in tackling tough problems and working together with competing interests to find common ground. That approach and real-world experience is sorely needed in a Congress too full of career insiders.”

“…“I was humbled by strangers who stopped me in the grocery store or at the gas station and urged me to run again. Several friends I met on the campaign trail called and offered an encouraging word.”

“I’m going to be out there every day working hard to get elected and be a good representative for them in Congress.”

Doheny twice tried – unsuccessfully – to unseat Democratic Rep. Bill Owens, first in 2010 during a three-way race in which Conservative Doug Hoffman reduced his chances of success, and then again in 2012, when he had the Independence, Conservative and GOP lines, but still came up short in the GOP-dominated district.

Each time he ran, Doheny spent hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of his own cash on his campaigns.

There has been consistent talk that Doheny was mulling a third congressional run ever since Owens’ abrupt announcement last month that he would not seek re-election this fall.

That talk intensified when a polling firm that has long worked for Doheny released the results of a survey that showed him with a significant lead over former Bush White House aide Elise Stefanik, who announced her candidacy back in August – long before Owens even decided not to run.

Doheny did not return calls seeking comment after the poll surfaced, and he said not a public word when the majority of the GOP county chairs in NY-21 announced they had selected Stefanik as their candidate.

At least one NY-21 GOP chairman is standing firm behind Stefanik. Franklin County Chair Ray Scollin released the following statement last night in response to “actual or potential Republican late-comers” to the race:

“From the very first day of the 2014 election cycle, Franklin County Republicans have worked to identify a solid candidate from the ground up. Myself, and the county committee, know we have found one in Elise Stefanik.”

“She has put in both the miles and the hours to prove to everyone interested that she deserves our endorsement, and we proudly confirmed that tonight at our monthly meeting.”

“When incumbent Bill Owens was still in the race, Stefanik was doing the hard work of earning the support of grassroots Republicans, town and county committees, local business leaders and elected officials throughout the district. This is the hard work we expect from our future representatives in Washington.”

“Political opportunists are unfortunately a dime a dozen, while principled, energetic representatives are few and far between. I believe we could do with a little more earnest enthusiasm, and a little less ambulance chasing.”

In this morning’s statement Doheny stressed that while he had to leave the North Country temporarily “to continue my career, this will be my home for the rest of my life.” He said he wants to improve the district for the “next generation,” including his seven-month-old son, Declan.

Neither Stefanik nor the Democrats’ candidate, documentary filmmaker Aaron Woolf, is a North Country native.

Stefanik recently relocated into the district, to which her family has long had ties. Woolf, who has not made any public appearances since his selection by the Democratic county chairs last week, owns a house in Elizabethtown, but also has a residence in New York City.

Doheny, 43, grew up in the North Country and graduated from Alexandria Central School. He graduated from Allegheny College and Cornell Law School.

After practicing law in Syracuse, Doheny worked at Deutsche Bank, and later, for Fintech Advisory, a money management firm. He left Fintech in 2010 and started his own business, North Country Capital LLC, which is based in Watertown, where he lives with his wife, Mary.

Doheny said he intends to also seek the Independence and Conservative lines this year.

The Democratic line is not quite settled, either. There has been persistent talk that former state Sen. Darrel Aubertine will enter the race.

Aubertine, who left his post as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s agriculture commissioner last fall and now works for state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, has confirmed he’s considering a run, but has not yet made any announcements.