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4th Democrat wants to challenge Stefanik

4th Democrat wants to challenge Stefanik

New competitor cites her 'yes' vote on health care
4th Democrat wants to challenge Stefanik
Emily Martz.
Photographer: Provided

A fourth Democrat has announced a bid to run for Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s 21st District seat.

In announcing her candidacy Wednesday night, Emily Martz, an economic developer and former college professor from Saranac Lake, took Stefanik, a second-term Republican, to task for voting yes on the House Republicans' American Health Care Act.

“Our current representative has forgotten about us. We gave her a chance, but she’s clearly focused [on] large corporations and millionaires,” Martz, 45, said in a prepared statement. “She voted to reduce our access to healthcare and, at the same time, voted for tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.”

Martz also criticized Stefanik's voting record on environmental issues. 

“Though she represents a region whose economy and way of life are dependent upon our clean lakes and soil, she voted to allow mining companies to dump their waste into streams, and to make it easier to burn the fuels that create acid rain.”

Martz joins Tedra Cobb, of St. Lawrence County; Katie Wilson, of Essex County; and Patrick Nelson, of Stillwater, on the growing list of Democrats seeking the party’s nomination for the 2018 election.

“Geographically, it is a huge district,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg, referring to the district that stretches from Saratoga and Fulton counties to the Canadian border. “There’s a lot of ground to cover, so I understand why candidates would want to get in early and test the waters … but it’s way too early to be handicapping.”

By that, Greenberg meant it's too early to determine the strongest opposition candidate or ask whether a Democratic primary next June would help strengthen the eventual candidate in the general election.

Greenberg noted that, in Republican Congressman John Faso’s 19th district, nearly twice as many Democrats — seven — have entered the race. 

New York has hosted several high-profile congressional races in recent election cycles, and he expects 2018 to be no different.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in May placed Stefanik and Faso, whose districts have both been won by Democrats in recent years, on the committee's target list, along with several other Republicans from New York. 

“The one safe assumption about 2018 is that New York will again have several hotly-contested, nationally-watched congressional races,” Greenberg said.

In responding to the latest challenge, Stefanik campaign spokesman Lenny Alcivar referred to a statement he shared when Cobb announced her campaign on July 4:

“There will be a time and a place for electoral politics. For now, Congresswoman Stefanik is focused on her bipartisan work delivering real results for the hardworking families and small businesses across the 21st District, not on politics.”

Martz worked for many years in the financial services industry and as a college professor at the University of Delaware and Paul Smith’s College. She now serves as deputy director of the Adirondack North Country Association economic development group, where she has “brought business owners, farmers, elected officials and other community leaders together to find innovative ways to fulfill the region’s needs and opportunities,” she said in the prepared statement.

She also said she would use her background to help businesses and communities access the resources needed to create “family-sustaining jobs.” 

“I will take my economic development expertise to Washington to help our region create good-paying jobs, to create sustainable development that works with our environment instead of against it, and to make sure everyone has access to affordable, quality healthcare,” she said.

Stefanik, of Willsboro, was elected in 2014. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

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