By Jesse McKinley
November 3, 2020
Representative Elise Stefanik was re-elected to a fourth term on Tuesday, riding President Trump’s popularity in a rural conservative region in northern New York, his former home state.
One of Mr. Trump’s closest congressional allies, Ms. Stefanik had been a source of Democratic ire because of her fervent defense of the president during House impeachment hearings last year, with millions of dollars being donated to her opponent, Tedra Cobb.
But Ms. Stefanik, 36, also benefited from her newfound celebrity, pulling in more than $11 million in donations, an astronomical amount for a race in the 21st Congressional District, where television ad rates are typically low, and Republicans already outnumber Democrats.
Those demographic advantages helped Ms. Stefanik easily dispatch Ms. Cobb in 2018. This year’s rematch was billed as a tighter contest, but the Republican incumbent seemed poised to win by a larger margin, with more than half of the election districts counted. The Associated Press called the race late Tuesday night.
Those methods turned offsome editorial boardsin the district, which is made up of all or part of 12 counties near the borders of Canada and Vermont, most of which went for Mr. Trump in 2016. But Democratic leadership in Washington never embraced the idea of a Cobb upset, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee leaving her off their “red-to-blue” target list.
Ms. Stefanik, once known for more moderate positions, had continued to link herself with Mr. Trump in many ways: as a chair ofthe president’s re-election campaignin New York and a featuredspeaker at the Republican National Conventionin August. The president, in turn, called her a “Republican star,” and endorsed her re-election last month.
Yet Ms. Stefanik also sought to cast herself capable of bipartisanship in the closing weeks of the campaign.
Ms. Cobb, 53, a former county legislator and consultant, had criticized Ms. Stefanik’s repeated votes to overturn the Affordable Care Act, as well as the congresswoman’s performance on military and economic issues, both of which are prominent in the job-challenged district that is home to Fort Drum.
Still, Ms. Stefanik was largely able to avoid widespread criticism of the federal handling of the coronavirus because of the relatively low rates of infections and death in the North Country, as her district is commonly known.
With her re-election, Ms. Stefanik remains one of the few remaining Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation, which is dominated by downstate Democrats, predominately from New York City and its suburbs. When first elected in 2014, she was the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at the time, and would remain the only Republican woman in New York’s delegation, depending on the result of the race pitting Rep. Max Rose, a Democrat, against Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican state assemblywoman. Ms. Malliotakis leads Mr. Rose and has declared victory, but The Associated Press has not called the race.
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