Stefanik and Cobb face off in North Country

Tedra Cobb in spirited battle with Elise Stefanik
Rep. Elise Stefanik, left, and Tedra Cobb
Rep. Elise Stefanik, left, and Tedra Cobb

21st CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT — Seeking a third term representing New York’s 21st Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, faces a challenge from Democrat Tedra Cobb.

It is a race in which support or opposition to President Donald Trump and his policies has provided much of the subtext, though a 50,000-voter Republican enrollment advantage in her North Country district makes the seat a tough one for Democrats hoping to capitalize on the president’s polarizing nature.

Stefanik, at age 33, remains the youngest member of Congress. She portrays herself as among the most bipartisan members of a bitterly divided Congress, while Cobb has painted Stefanik as being under the influence of national Republican leaders and corporate donors, and out of touch with North Country voters’ concerns.

Cobb, 51, of Canton, is a business consultant who served in the St. Lawrence County Legislature from 2001 to 2009. She highlights her deep knowledge of the North Country and strong pro-environment stances. Cobb supports a “Medicare for All” bill that would transfer responsibility for providing health care insurance from private employers to the federal government.

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Stefanik grew up in the Albany area and worked in the George W. Bush White House before returning to the region and running for Congress in 2014. She has highlighted her work on a Bipartisan Task Force on Opioid Abuse and her actions to protect the environment, including sponsoring legislation to fight invasive species and to maintain acid rain protections that some of Trump’s proposals would eliminate – both issues impact the Adirondacks, which she represents.

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Stefanik is also an outspoken advocate of military spending and veterans’ issues; Fort Drum in Watertown and the naval nuclear training facility in Saratoga County are both in her district. She has criticized Trump but also welcomed him to Fort Drum for a bill-signing ceremony in July.

As of Sept. 30, Stefanik had raised more than $2.5 million, and Cobb had raised more than $1.1 million – money Cobb said included none of the corporate political action committee contributions that Stefanik has accepted.

Also in the race is Green Party candidate Lynn Kahn, of Schroon Lake.

The 21st Congressional District, which stretches from Saratoga and Fulton counties to the Canadian border, and east-west from Lake Champlain to Lake Ontario, leans Republican – though Democrats have won in recent years when the Republican party was badly split. State Board of Elections figures show the district has 177,800 enrolled Republicans, 128,438 Democrats, and 94,182 independent voters.

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