U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, said her re-election campaign in 2020 was the “toughest race I’ve ever run” — but unofficial totals Tuesday night showed her winning in all 12 counties of the 21st Congressional District.
Stefanik had an overwhelming lead as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, with 156,580 votes to challenger Democrat Tedra Cobb who had 85,880 with 453 of the sprawling 21st congressional district’s election districts having reported results.
Just before 10 a.m. Wednesday, Stefanik’s lead stood at about 164,938 votes or 63.5 percent to Cobb’s 91,233 votes, or 35.1 percent, with 489 of 531 districts reporting.
Stefanik’s unofficial vote totals exceeded the official results of her first race against Cobb, when she won by 14 percentage points, receiving 131,981 votes (56.1%) to Cobb’s 99,791 (42.4%).
“With overwhelming support, we are going to sweep all 12 counties,” Stefanik said. “We know that this seat is not controlled by Hollywood. It’s not controlled by Nancy Pelosi. It’s controlled by the voters!”
Stefanik said she is proud to serve as the voice of the 21st congressional district.
“I know everyday that I do my job that I’m working on behalf of you, listening to your concerns, representing your issues, making sure we have a seat at the highest levels in Washington D.C., whether that’s working with the president of the United States or delivering results in the United States congress,” she said.
Unofficial results showed Stefanik performed strongly in Fulton County, receiving 13,250 votes with Cobb receiving 4254. In Saratoga County, where Stefanik lives, she received 26,234 votes to Cobb’s 16,086. With 59 of 81 election precincts reporting by midnight Stefanik had a commanding lead over Cobb with 17,080 votes to 9,259 in St. Lawrence County, where Cobb lives and served in the county legislature. Absentee votes had not been counted in all counties as of Tuesday night.
Stefanik ran a campaign in which she borrowed some of the tactics of President Donald Trump, including using nicknames like “Taxin’ Tedra” to mock her opponent.
Once known for more moderate positions, Stefanik has linked herself with Trump in many ways: as a chair of the president’s reelection campaign in New York and a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention in August. The president, in turn, called her a “Republican star,” and endorsed her reelection last month.
Yet Stefanik also sought to cast herself capable of bipartisanship in the closing weeks of the campaign.
Cobb, 53, a former county legislator and consultant, had criticized 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, 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.
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With her reelection, Stefanik remains one of the few remaining Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation, which is dominated by downstate Democrats, predominantly 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. Malliotakis leads Rose and has declared victory, but The Associated Press has not called the race.
This report contains material from The New York Times.
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