A new billboard targeting U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, is set to go up in Queensbury this week, the latest salvo in an internecine battle among Republicans.
The Republican Accountability Project, a political action committee of anti-Trump Republicans, is backing a $1 million effort to call on certain elected Republican officials across the country to resign in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, choosing Stefanik as one of the group’s 10 targeted House members.
“You lied about the election. The Capitol was attacked,” the ad will read when it goes up later this week near the corner of State Route 9 and Quaker Road. “Stefanik: Resign.”
The billboards will also be accompanied by paid television ads to be aired on Fox News in Stefanik’s district this week. The ad features footage from the Jan. 6 riots paired with inflammatory rhetoric from elected Republicans, though not Stefanik.
“Among too many other Republican members of Congress, Rep. Stefanik helped incite the attack on the Capitol by spreading lies about the election, which proves she is unfit to hold office and should be nowhere near power,” Meaghan Leister, a spokesperson for the Republican Accountability Project, said in a statement Monday.
Stefanik has faced a wave of criticism for furthering baseless claims that the November presidential election was mired in problems that called the outcome into question. That criticism exploded even more after the Jan. 6 riots, which many people said were sparked by the persistent claims from former President Donald Trump and his supporters that the election was stolen. Stefanik last month was removed from an advisory committee at the Harvard Institute of Politics, housed at her alma mater.
In a statement Monday, Stefanik adviser Alex DeGrasse dismissed the campaign against Stefanik as a distraction, highlighting a sexual harassment scandal at the anti-Trump, Republican group the Lincoln Project, which is separate from the political action committee backing the latest billboard and TV ads. He said “no one cares about these billboards except for the media.”
“Congresswoman Stefanik is focused on delivering COVID relief to North Country families, small businesses, and schools,” DeGrasse said in the statement. “The Never-Trumper movement is doing all they can to distract the press from their massive sexual abuse and harassment scandal, but putting a pathetic billboard in a town we won by 35 percent two months ago, is certainly next level desperation.”
Stefanik, who in November romped to victory in her North Country district, rose to prominence in recent years as a stout defender of Trump. Trump lauded her efforts during a White House ceremony following his acquittal during his first impeachment.
In the days following the Nov. 3 election, Stefanik echoed claims that elections in Georgia and Arizona were not properly administered and continued to press those claims until she voted against certification of some of President Joe Biden’s electors during the Jan. 6 joint session intended to finalize the electoral college results.