NY-21 Week in Review: Bipartisan group endorses Stefanik

The Post Star
October 29, 2018

By: MICHAEL GOOT

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, has picked up the endorsement of the Bipartisan Women’s Campaign Fund.

The nonpartisan organization’s goal is to increase the number of women in elected office and “supports competent women candidates who demonstrate they have what it takes to win their races, to find and build on common ground, and to work effectively for the good of all at every level of elected office in the United States,” according to its website.

Stefanik was among the four Republicans and nine Democrats that the WCF endorsed.

The candidates filled out a questionnaire to explain how they met the criteria. The organization said it was tough to vet the more than 200 women running this year, but it did not support candidates who had a campaign strategy of divisive tactics — even if they had a good record of reaching common ground.

In an unusual occurrence, the group endorsed both Democrat Mary Gay Scanlon and Republican Pearl Kim in Pennsylvania’s 5th District, which is essentially an open seat after a court-ordered redistricting.

Stefanik on Monday also earned the endorsement of five members of the state Assembly, including Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury.

“She continues to be a strong advocate for our veterans, service members and their families, for our small businesses and for the many farmers who call the North Country home,” said Stec in a news release. “I have known Elise since she first ran, and no one can deny that she is one of the hardest-working members in Congress. I have witnessed firsthand the congresswoman’s work ethic and her dedication to her constituents.”

New York Times story

The NY-21 race was mentioned in a recent New York Times article about four women candidates seeking to unseat Republican incumbents, noting that millions of dollars were flowing into the races.

The story mentioned that Democrat Tedra Cobb’s race is different in that she was taking on a female incumbent and that Cobb is the only one of the challengers who has held elective office. The article pointed out that the district has 50,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats, but noted that Cobb had raised $1.1 million through the end of September.

Fundraising haul

The two major-party candidates were able to spin their fundraising numbers for the first half of October, which were reported on last week.

Cobb again outraised Stefanik in a fundraising period, receiving $145,000 from Oct. 1 through Oct. 17, compared with $116,000 for Stefanik.

Cobb collected about 64 percent of her donations from within the NY-21 Congressional District, compared with 41 percent for Stefanik.

However, the Stefanik campaign pointed out that Stefanik had more than five times as much cash on hand as Cobb — $1.26 million for cash on hand as of Oct. 1 compared with $232,000 for Cobb.

Also, Stefanik had received $26,350 donations of $1,000 or greater during a 48-hour period last week — a dead heat with Cobb’s $26,100.

Social Security, Medicare

Cobb says voters deserve to know what Stefanik’s plans are for Social Security.

Cobb has sent out a news release criticizing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his recent comment that drastic changes to Social Security and Medicare would be needed to reduce the federal budget deficit.

A report from the congressional Democrats’ Joint Economic Committee said that the Republican wants to cut $2 trillion in from Social Security and Medicare, which Cobb noted is the same amount of the tax cuts passed by the Bush and Trump administrations for the richest Americans, according to a news release from the Cobb campaign.

Cobb pointed out that Stefanik served as policy director for the 2012 Republican National Convention platform, where she promoted creating personal investment accounts as an alternative to Social Security and she cast a vote in favor of a balanced budget amendment that would cut $2.6 trillion from Social Security and $1.3 trillion from Medicare. She voted in opposition to an amendment to exempt those two funds from the amendment, according to a news release.

“Northern New Yorkers have earned their Social Security and Medicare over a lifetime of hard work. Threatening those earned benefits by sending them to Wall Street is a non-starter with me,” Cobb said in a news release.

Stefanik is on record saying she opposes any changes to Social Security and Medicare for people ages 50 and up, but is open to the idea for reforming the program to ensure its viability.

Privacy concerns

Green Party candidate Lynn Kahn sent out a press releasing last week saying she would defend citizens’ rights from the government searching through their digital activity without obtaining a warrant.

Kahn used the 17th anniversary of President George W. Bush’s signing of the USA Patriot Act to criticize Stefanik’s vote on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act in 2018, which Kahn said allowed the government to continue monitoring people’s text messages, phone calls and internet searches without a warrant, according to a news release.

“Democrats and Republicans, two peas in a pod, voted for this bill violating our 4th Amendment rights that protect us from unreasonable searches,” Kahn said in a news release. “I will boldly stand up for our Constitution and our Bill of Rights to protect our individual freedoms as District 21’s congresswoman.”

Kahn said the issue of the government monitoring people’s personal information became more visible when Edward Snowden in June 2013 exposed the National Security Agency’s extensive surveillance of Americans.