By Kelly O’Brien: October 19, 2020

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WCAX) – The candidates vying for New York’s 21st Congressional District seat went face-to-face Monday in their first in-person televised debate.

Republican incumbent Elise Stefanik has held the seat since 2015 and this is the second time Tedra Cobb is her Democratic challenger.

Monday night’s debate started with tension between the two candidates with both speaking over each other and candidates going over their allotted times.

They debated topics involving the coronavirus pandemic and how the President handled it.

“The president lied to the American people, he knew how dangerous this virus was and he didn’t tell the truth,” said Cobb.

“I think the president has done very well in providing what we need in the North Country. Take a look back at where we were in February, President Trump made the right but tough decision to ban flights from China,” said Stefanik.

The conversation turned to talks about a pending stimulus bill, with both candidates say more funding is needed for the Paycheck Protection Program and money to school districts.

They both are against a federally mandated mask policy. “Tedra Cobb is parroting Nancy Pelosi, far-left, and the New York Times,” said Stefanik.

Throughout the debate, Congresswoman Stefanik name-dropped numerous well-known Democrats like Speaker Pelosi, Rep. Adam Shiff, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo and compared her opponent to them.

There was also discussion about defense spending, a missile site at Fort Drum, and where both candidates stand on assault rifles.

Congresswoman Stefanik has multiple political ads claiming Cobb supports banning assault rifles. Cobb said that is not the case. “I do not support a ban on assault rifles. What I do support are closing gun show loopholes. What I do support are universal background checks,” said Cobb.

Health care is why Cobb says she is running. “I think the best way forward is a Medicare public option that gives people the choice. If you want to buy into Medicare, you can. If you want to keep your insurance, you are able to do that,” she said.

“We deserve more affordable health care, better quality, and better access, particularly in rural communities,” said Stefanik.

You can