By Pat Pradley: October 22, 2020

The two candidates running in New York’s 21st District Congressional race met for their second and final televised debate Wednesday evening. The animosity between Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik and Democratic challenger Tedra Cobb was apparent throughout the hour-long exchange.

The debate in Plattsburgh hosted and broadcast by MyNBC5 was no less contentious than their first meeting in Watertown two days earlier, but was more controlled by its two moderators.

NBC5 Anchor Brian Colleran posed a pandemic relief question to Stefanik. “What does Congress and the President need to do right now to address the pain and suffering. Miss Stefanik we’ll start with you.”
Stefanik: “What I’m advocating for is direct relief to our K-12 schools. I’m advocating for direct aid to state and local governments. I’m also advocating for additional funds for testing capacity. I will continue for bipartisan solutions. My opponent is rubber stamp fo Nancy Pelosi who has walked away multiple times from negotiations.”
Colleran: “Miss Cobb.”
Cobb: “So Elise Stefanik blames Nancy Pelosi. But let’s be real about it. This president has walked away. Mitch McConnell has said that he will put it on hold because he’s going to focus on the Supreme Court. She’s not delivered the second package.”
Stefanik: “We are going to deliver that next package. My opponent is a parrot for Nancy Pelosi.”
Cobb: “The reality Elise is that you are in Congress, right. There is not another package right now and this is exactly what’s wrong with Washington. The language that you use, the name-calling that you use, the divisiveness is what is wrong and why we don’t have another package.”

As the duo argued over gun rights and policies, Stefanik jumped when Cobb stumbled. “I believe that we should respect responsible gun owners’ rights. But I also believe that we should pass meaningful legislation banning, ah, ah…”
Stefanik: “Banning. She said it herself. Banning. She said it herself. Banning assault weapons.”
Anchor Stephanie Gorin: “She did not.”
Stefanik: “She said banning.”
Cobb: “Gun show loopholes. You know what Elise I am not a career politician and I will not never lie about you or twist the truth about you.”
Stefanik: “You said banning.”
Cobb: “I said the word banning.”
Stefanik: “‘Cause that’s she supports a gun ban.”
Cobb: “This is childish.”

Cobb was asked why she voted to eliminate a sheriff’s deputy position when she was on the St. Lawrence County Legislature, which her opponent says illustrates support for defunding police. “This is actually the crisis that we are now talking about if we don’t get federal aid to local and municipalities. These local municipalities will be in the same position. And so what we unfortunately had to do was sometimes not fill positions. I do not support defunding the police. However I do feel that we need to fund those ancillary professionals who go with the police.”
Stefanik: “No amount of explaining from my opponent is going to take away from the fact that she voted to eliminate not fill that deputy sheriff’s position. But she also was part of the Democratic leadership in St. Lawrence County that was advocating for the elimination of the highway patrol.”
Cobb: “Elise will lie and she will twist the truth and the reality is Elise you do not understand local government. You have never served in local government. You’ve never served as a volunteer anywhere in this community and you twist and turn the truth. And you continue to name call and to bring this sort of vitriol.”
Stefanik: “Tedra, you run from your record.”

Even though Cobb agreed with Elise Stefanik over bail reform the two still argued over the issue.  “I do support bail reform on a national level. I did not support New York state’s bail reform.”
Moderator Stefanie Gorin:  “Miss Stefanik.”
Stefanik:  “My opponent had bail reform on her website before she frantically deleted it. I don’t support Governor Cuomo’s bail reform like my opponent does.”
Cobb:  “So I just agreed with Elise Stefanik. Note. I just agreed with you and yet you cannot for one moment. This is an example of the inability to either work together or acknowledge. Instead you choose to lie. I was very clear. I do support bail reform. I did not support New York state’s bail reform. I said that very clearly Elise. You can twist it however you want.”
Stefanik:  “So here are the facts. You had bail reform on your website.”
Cobb:  “Does it matter?”
Stefanik:  “You deleted it.”
Cobb:  “I said I agree with bail reform but not New York state.”
Stefanik:  “Why did you delete it? You deleted it. Because you delete your positions on your website.”
Cobb:  “People have websites!”
Stefanik:  “You have run from you record.”
Colleran: “Excuse me we’ve got more topics to get to.”

You can read this whole debate recap here: