Capital Region

DCCC adds Stefanik to 2018 target list

Committee now targeting 79 Republican-held House seats
U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik answers questions at a Ballston Spa school in 2015.
U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik answers questions at a Ballston Spa school in 2015.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee now has both Republicans who represent parts of the Capital Region in its sights for defeat in 2018.

The DCCC on Tuesday confirmed it has added U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, to its target list, where she joins U.S. Rep John Faso, R-Kinderhook, and several other Republicans in the New York congressional delegation. Both Stefanik’s 21st Congressional District and Faso’s 19th district have been won by Democrats in recent years.

“House Republicans’ midterm prospects grow dimmer with each passing day thanks to the endless supply of chaos, scandal and broken promises to voters from Republican-controlled Washington,” said Meredith Kelly, a spokeswoman for the DCCC.

In all, the campaign committee is now targeting 79 Republican-held House seats. The designation means the DCCC will offer consultation, funding and organizational support to Democrats running in those districts.

Stefanik, who at 32 is the youngest member of the House of Representatives, would be seeking her third two-year term if she runs again in 2018. To date, her only competitor is Democrat Patrick Nelson of Stillwater, 27, a legislative aide in the state Assembly.

As of their most recent federal financial filings, Nelson had raised $5,692, all from small individual contributions, while Stefanik had raised $270,203. But with the election still 18 months away, serious fundraising hasn’t begun.

Should Democrats put significant resources into the race, it’s likely Republicans would respond in kind in an effort to protect Stefanik, seen in conservative circles as a rising young star. A Stefanik campaign spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

In the 19th Congressional District, meanwhile, Faso — who won retired Congressman Chris Gibson’s seat last November, defeating Democratic activist Zephyr Teachout — has had six Democrats file at least the initial paperwork to run against him next year.

Lawyer Antonio Delgado, 40, of Rhinebeck, grew up in Schenectady, near McClellan and Bradley streets. So far, he has been most successful in fundraising, having brought in $300,000 in individual donations as of March 31, according to a Federal Elections Commission filing. His contributors include former Democratic Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, who gave $1,000, and Shenendehowa Central School District Superintendent Oliver Robinson, who gave $500.

“We are in the exploratory phase right now but gearing up for a very real run,” said his campaign manager, Nichole Johnson.

“Antonio is exploring a run for Congress because he believes everyone deserves the opportunities he had to achieve the American dream, but that opportunity is now out of reach for far too many people,” his campaign said in a statement. “As a kid growing up in a working class home in Schenectady, he watched his parents lift themselves into the middle class. Their success allowed him to create opportunities for himself and his family, and he wants to help bring those same opportunities to people here in the Hudson Valley and Catskills area.”

Delgado, both of whose parents once worked at General Electric, graduated from Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons School, Colgate University and Harvard Law School. He was also a Rhodes Scholar, studying at Oxford University. He is a senior practice attorney in the New York City office of Akin Gump, an international law firm. He is married with two children.

Brian Flynn of Hunter, a small businessman and “lifelong progressive Democrat” who has also campaigned against terrorism since the death of a brother in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, according to his website, has raised $180,000. His contributors include another member of the Kennedy family, Edwin Schlossberg, husband of Caroline Kennedy. He has given $1,000.

Other Democrats who have formed campaign committees, though not yet collected enough money to have to file disclosure forms, include Jeffrey Beals, Steven Brisee, Sue Sullivan, and a former press aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Gareth Rhodes.

The 19th district includes the Hudson Valley, Schoharie County and most of Montgomery County. The 21st district encompasses the North Country, from central Saratoga County and Fulton County north to the Canadian border.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

Categories: -News-, Schenectady County

Leave a Reply