Democrats who want to face Stefanik


North Country Rep Elise Stefanik is not political pressure. The four-term holder has won all of her double-digit races. Her latest financial disclosures show she has over $ 2.1 million to spend on another tenure. National Celebrity offers plenty of options to elevate further while providing a level of name recognition that’s hard to beat. Yet her years-long drift to the far right could turn into her downfall – or so go the hopes of a growing list of Democrats who hope to overthrow her next year.

There are two main threads to the idea that Stefanik has become out of touch with potential voters in his constituency. She regularly espouses views that contradict her claims as a bipartisan negotiator on issues such as health care, gun control and voting rights. “We have to have someone who is ready to talk,” Bridie Farrell, a political newcomer and former competitive speed skater who announced his campaign for the Democratic nomination on July 21, said in an interview. “Elise Stefanik is not a person ready to do so much.” Then there is the issue of her January 6 vote against the certification of some of the 2020 presidential results. offered his own explanation for this while Democrat Matthew Putorti, who announced his campaign earlier this year has his. “This attempt to undermine the rule of law and challenge democratic institutions really concerns me,” he said in an interview.

Both Farrell and Putorti emphasize their local roots and personal biographies more than their political positions on burning issues like healthcare and gun control. They also underline Stefanik’s evolution from moderate politics to full-fledged Trumpista as they begin their campaigns in the Democratic primary to be decided next June. It could help them get around divisive political issues while also highlighting their own roots in the district, but political experts say whoever wins the Democratic nominee will undoubtedly face an uphill battle to topple Stefanik in a district where there are about three registered Republicans for every two Democrats.

Bridie Farrell (Bridie Farrell Campaign)

Farrell grew up in Saratoga Springs on the southern end of the district, attended public school, and trained to be an Olympic athlete. Although she did not achieve this ambition, she set several national records. She also attended Cornell University before working in the corporate world at New York Life Insurance Company. “I’m a competitor and nothing turns me on more than knowing that the race of a lifetime is on the horizon,” she said in an interview. “Now I’m here, living in the best place in the world in the Adirondacks and running against someone who got elected and who quickly forgot everyone she was supposed to represent.” Farrell declined to say how long she had lived in the neighborhood as an adult, although she said she currently resides there.

His most notable political experience was his advocacy for the Child Victims Act, which became law in 2019 after a years-long campaign to suspend the statute of limitations for one year to allow survivors of abuse to pursue their cases. aggressors. It was a personal crusade for Farrell who was sexually assaulted at the age of 15 by a 33-year-old speed skating mentor before founding his own non-profit organization to help other survivors of ‘abuse. “Most people keep everything that has happened to them private because it hurts every time they say it,” said Linda Rosenthal, member of the Manhattan Assembly, who sponsored the bill in his room. “To continue despite this, because you know there is a bigger mission, says a lot about the kind of person she is.” Another state sponsor, Sen. Brad Hoylman of Manhattan, said in a statement that the bill would never have become law without it.

Putorti has his own claim to fame as promising LGBTQ lawyer. He said in an interview that one of his campaign’s biggest assets is the grocery store his great-grandmother established in her hometown of Whiteall, located near the southern tip of Lake Champlain, after immigrating. from Italy almost a century ago. “It is an anchor of our community and an anchor of our family,” added Putorti, whose parents have held various local elected positions in the past. He volunteered in Sudan as a young adult and served with Americorps on the Gulf Coast as part of the recovery efforts from Hurricane Katrina. In recent years, he worked in insurance law for the New York law firm Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, Pitman after graduating in law from Fordham University. He first became a full-time resident of the district as an adult several months ago, he said.

His campaign includes more than a half-dozen paid staff with ties to prominent Democrats like former Rep. Anthony Brindisi of central New York, Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts, and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. A recent campaign funding disclosure shows that he raised over $ 213,000 for his campaign, the vast majority coming from contributions under $ 100. Like Farrell, Putorti says he will lead a house-to-house campaign in the sprawling 21st Congressional District, a predominantly rural set of twelve counties stretching from the eastern shore of Lake Ontario to the Vermont border and south of the Canadian border to the Capital District. Where Stefanik has already moved with an F-150 truck, Putorti promises to drive his black Ford Bronco while Farrell plans to drive his gray Subaru. “Come on, everyone has one,” she said of the neighborhood.

Neither Farrell nor Putorti give much detail about their political positions on their respective websites, although it appears he leans more to the left than she does. National legalization of cannabis? He said he would vote yes when she said no. Gun control? Both candidates have said they support the Second Amendment although he has expressed support for the universal background check when she has not. Health care? Single-payer health care is not on any of their political agendas. Putorti said the Affordable Care Act should continue to be the basis for future chances for the healthcare system while Farrell declined to state his position. “I don’t think that’s a fair question to answer,” she said if she would vote for a single payer in Congress. Meanwhile, progressive Ezra Watson of Wilton, a town north of Saratoga Springs, runs much more to the left although it is not clear if he will be competitive in the race. He could not be reached for comment at the time of posting.

While Democrats hope to make the District blue in recent cycles, they continually fail. Stefanik’s beat former St. Lawrence County lawmaker Tedra Cobb of 18 points in 2020. “I don’t see this becoming a top 40 race,” said policy consultant Steve Kramer, who once worked for a principal opponent of Stefanik’s GOP in an interview. Hudson Valley Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, could not be reached for comment until the time of publication. Historical currents, however, are undoubtedly working against Democratic challengers, given how the party that owns the White House typically suffers losses in Congress in midterm elections. That’s not going to help when it comes to convincing Democrats outside New York to invest in efforts to defeat Stefanik, said Kramer, a veteran of numerous congressional campaigns across the country.

Democrats hoping to retain their slim majority in the US House, incumbent Republicans like Reps John Katko and Claudia Tenney from central New York would likely make more sense as Democratic targets, according to Luke Perry, a government professor at Utica College, and the upcoming redistribution process is also another big factor. “Stefanik has solidified the right flank of his base in recent years with unwavering support for former President Trump, avoiding internal fractures, unlike moderate Republicans in central New York like John Katko,” Perry said in a text. . “It will be very difficult for any Democrat to topple Stefanik, so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if the Democrats in Albany seek to shore up Republicans upstate through redistribution to help secure the gains in (the district represented by Tenney and Katko).

Stefanik, who grew up outside the district, has already indicated that whoever wins the Democratic nomination, she will seek to label him as a radical leftist intruder despite his own file like someone who moved to the district before running for office. “New York far-left Democrat Brigid ‘Bridie’ Farrell only checked in at NY-21 just a few weeks ago – even more recently than far-left New York lawyer Matt Putorti “Stefanik said in a Declaration of July 21. “Our campaign welcomes these radical candidates in the race and in the North of the country.” Yet despite Stefanik’s various claims to be defend your neighborhood Against the political left, she has yet to explain why she joined with other colleagues in promoting the lie that mass electoral fraud occurred in the 2020 election.

It remains to be seen whether Farrell, Putorti or Watson will be able to convince enough voters to vote Democratic next year to be elected to Congress, but they must first win their own party’s nomination. It could mean that the Democratic candidates will focus on each other over the coming year as they position themselves in the primary realm. For now at least, they’re playing well by focusing on the incumbent Republican whose support for Trump, according to Farrell and Putorti, threatens democracy itself. “The beauty of life in America is democracy and the people who run,” Farrell said of the upcoming campaign. “I can’t wait for it.”

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