Thursday, March 3 2022

“Stefanik can rest easy. She has no reason to worry.”

SARATOGA, NY– The Albany Times Union just admitted what we’ve known for months. The Democrats running in New York’s 21st Congressional District have ZERO chance of unseating Representative Elise Stefanik this November.

In a lengthy piece published this morning by theTimes Union’sChris Churchill, which highlights the numerous controversies that have embroiled the Democrat primary for months, Churchill is forced to conclude:“Stefanik can rest easy. She has no reason to worry.”

For the first time in its history of covering Rep. Stefanik, theTimes Union has printed an accurate story.

TheTimes Union piece highlights how allegations of bias, homophobia, and “misogynistic tropes” by Democrat Party bosses have “fractured” the field, and Churchill agrees with our previous assessment that the Democrat primary is in “DISARRAY.”

Then there’s the fact that the corrupt Albany Democrats in the process of illegally gerrymandering New York’s Congressional Districts ended any chance these Democrat challengers had of defeating Rep. Stefanik when they turned NY-21 into a Republican fortress.

“The party, in other words, gave up on beating Stefanik,” Churchill wrote.

Read the full Albany Times Union article below:

Churchill: As Democrats Fracture, Stefanik Is Safer Than Ever
Albany Times Union
Chris Churchill
March 3, 2022

SARATOGA SPRINGS— How’s the effort to unseat Elise Stefanik going? Er, not so well.

When I checked in last fall, Democrats had three main candidates in the 21st Congressional District race: Matt Putorti, a lawyer from Whitehall; Bridie Farrell, a former U.S. national team speed skater and advocate for victims of child sexual abuse; and former CIA officer Matt Castelli.

None of the three were likely to win against Stefanik, but the field was interesting, at least, and Democrats seemed unified in their desire to beat a controversial incumbent who, as GOP conference chair, is now the number three Republican in the House.

But that unity has fractured.

In December, Farrell called on Saratoga County Democratic Committee Chair Todd Kerner to step down as she accused him of refusing to meet with her alone and “throwing around misogynistic tropes.” Kerner, in turn, called Farrell’s accusation “a stunt to bolster her floundering campaign.”

Last week, Farrell dropped out of the race. That didn’t put an end to controversy.

On Saturday, as first reported by the Post-Star newspaper in Glens Falls, Putorti accused party leaders of homophobia and sexism after the Saratoga County Democratic Committee recommended he leave the race to clear the way for Castelli.

“This is the most recent example of a months-long effort by a small group of out-of-touch party bosses desperately trying to sideline a gay man and a woman for their preferred straight guy,” Putorti said in a statement.

Stefanik’s campaign responded gleefully, declaring in an email that “North Country Democrats are in DISARRAY.” It was hard to disagree.

On Monday, Putorti told me some party leaders have conveyed, either explicitly or implicitly, that an openly gay candidate can’t win in a district seen as culturally conservative. Because of that bias, he said, there’s been a consistent effort to push him from the race.

“There’s this perception that I’m not macho enough to run, or that there might be rooms that I can’t go into because of my sexuality,” said Putorti, who lives and grew up in Whitehall. “It’s actually insulting to the voters, because for most people I don’t think it matters.”

Of course, there’s nothing novel about party leaders factoring in race, gender or sexuality as they weigh which candidate is most likely to win in a particular district. It is also true, though, that both political parties tend to underestimate the open-mindedness of voters.

How many leaders from either party prior to 2008 would have believed that Barack Obama would win the presidency and be followed by Donald Trump? Conventional wisdom is often far too conventional.

Kerner didn’t return a request for comment, so I didn’t get a chance to ask him if he believes a gay candidate could win in the North Country. But he did tell the Post-Star that the support for Castelli was based on his being a strong challenger with unusual expertise and had nothing to do with sexuality.

Putorti, meanwhile, vowed to stay in the race, despite the wishes of party bosses. “There will be a primary,” he added.

Castelli, who has been endorsed by a majority of county Democratic committees in the sprawling district, does have a distinctive resume. The Poughkeepsie native and Siena College graduate was a CIA officer in Iraq and Afghanistan who subsequently served as the director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council.

But for Castelli or any other blue challenger, the task of beating Stefanik has become significantly harder, thanks to decisions made by fellow Democrats.

The district’s new boundaries, as drawn by the state Legislature, added significant numbers of Republican voters as part of a broader gerrymandering effort designed to make other New York districts safer for Democrats.

The party, in other words, gave up on beating Stefanik to boost its odds elsewhere.

“I don’t want to say there’s no chance to win, because we have to fight the good fight,” Farrell said Monday, explaining how the redrawn map led her to leave the race. “But I didn’t see a path for a Democrat to win, which is heartbreaking to say out loud.”

Two years ago, Stefanik beat Democrat Tedra Cobb by nearly 20 percentage points, so this year’s task for challengers was always going to be difficult. President Biden’s dismal approval ratings, the prospect of a “red wave” election in November and the district’s new shape have perhaps made the hurdle impossible for a Democrat to clear.

Stefanik can rest easy. She has no reason to worry.

Read the full article HERE.