As we continue our look at how Washington lawmakers are spending their August recess, we head to Bill Owens' North Country congressional district. The Democrat has held on to his seat, despite demographics that favor Republicans. But as we head into 2014, Republicans are trying to lay the ground work to take back the district. Our Michael Scotto more in part four of his series, "Fight for the House."
NEW YORK STATE -- As Congressman Bill Owens toured his district with his nine-week-old dog, Fiona, the Democrat, who is known for working with both sides of the aisle, wasn't feeling all that optimistic that Washington would get its act together. The reason? Republicans. Here's his take on the stalled Farm Bill.
"I think that any bill that comes out of the conference committee is going to lean toward the Senate and if that happens, I'm not sure there are enough Republican votes to pass the bill in the House," said Owens.
He's equally as pessimistic on immigration reform.
Owens said, "I don't see much coming out of the House, even by the end of the year. It's going to be very difficult for Republicans to coalesce around any immigration idea or reform."
Owens' knock on the GOP comes ahead of the 2014 elections.
Owens won last year by two points and as we head into next year, it's possible Owens, based on the demographics of this district, could face a competitive race, which is why national Democrats are already pledging to give his campaign some extra help.
Just this month, Cook Political Report indicated the district had gotten more competitive, moving it from "Likely Democratic" to "Lean Democratic." Two Republicans, one tea party, the other establishment, are looking to challenge Owens.
"I don't know what his convictions are. I don't know what his principles are," said Joe Gilbert, congressional candidate.
"I'm running for Congress because I believe Washington needs new representation. We need new ideas and new leadership to shake up the status quo," congressional candidate Elise Stefanik said.
A primary could give Owens the advantage, yet again. But in 2014, Republicans may be motivated to go the polls, driven by Governor Andrew Cuomo's gun control law, as well as the Affordable Care Act.
"I think it'll be used against me, no doubt, I just think it'll be a little more difficult in a place like New York, where the governor has done such a good job of putting together the implementation pieces of the ACA," Owens said.
Perhaps. But there's still a lot of time between now and 2014.