Stefanik re-elected to third term in Congress
Cobb says she wants to run again in 2020
GLENS FALLS — U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik won re-election on Tuesday to a third term representing New York’s 21st Congressional District.
With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Stefanik, R-Willsboro, received 56 percent of the vote, compared with 41 percent for Democrat Tedra Cobb and 1.5 percent for Green Party candidate Lynn Kahn, according to unofficial returns.
Stefanik celebrated her victory with elected officials and supporters at the Queensbury Hotel Tuesday night.
“Our campaign has always been about you,” Stefanik told her supporters.
She said she is proud to be a voice for farmers and military personnel and other constituents.
She thanked Cobb and Kahn.
“It takes a lot of courage to run for office in today’s political climate,” she said.
There could be a rematch two years from now, as Cobb indicated to her supporters that she is interested in running again in 2020.
The district encompasses all of Warren, Washington, Clinton, Essex, Fulton, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, Franklin and St. Lawrence counties and portions of Saratoga and Herkimer counties.
The race was hard-fought over health care, the environment and taxes.
Stefanik told reporters Tuesday night that she was pleased by her double-digit margin of victory.
“It shows that we’re getting cross-party support,” she said.
Stefanik said she was disappointed that she would be losing some of her Republican colleagues, including Republican U.S. Rep. John Faso, who lost to Democrat Antonio Delgado in NY-19.
For the first time, Stefanik will be in the minority party in Congress. She said she did not think that it would be an issue.
“I have a very strong record of working across the aisle,” she said.
Stefanik said that she worked effectively with President Barack Obama, who was president during her term.
She said she didn’t mind that she is no longer the youngest woman elected to Congress, as Alexandria Orcasio-Cortez won her seat.
Cobb looks ahead
Cobb told her supporters at the Best Western in Canton that the fight isn’t over.
“In the North Country, we blaze our own path,” she said Tuesday night. “We do not give up, and I want you to know I’m not giving up, either.”
“I want to ask you for one more thing, and that is — don’t stop,” she said. “This 21st Congressional District belongs to us, and it will belong to us in 2020.”
Speaking to reporters after the concession speech, Cobb confirmed she plans another run. Cobb lost by about 15 percentage points. However, it is less than half of the margin that Mike Derrick lost to Stefanik in 2016. Cobb said it was a sign of things to come.
“That’s a huge margin that we’ve closed, and I think we’ll close it all the way in 2020.”
Strong Stefanik support
Stefanik had a lot of support from local constituents at polling places earlier in the day.
“I’d like Congress to stay the way it is. Economy is up,” said Argyle voter Chris Mitchell.
Queensbury voter Jeff Clark said Stefanik was the better choice.
“She’s bipartisan, she’s effective, and she’s enthusiastic,” he said.
Stefanik said on the campaign trail that she is in the top 10 percent of the most bipartisan members of Congress.
Glens Falls resident Charles Papa said he liked that Stefanik supports veterans. Stefanik has been an advocate for Fort Drum and got President Donald Trump to come to the military base in Watertown to sign the National Defense Authorization Act.
Cobb had some support from people who did not believe Stefanik effectively represented them.
“I tend to feel immediately more supportive of candidates, regardless of party, who talk to the people they represent,” said Argyle voter Valorie Nichols, appearing to refer to Stefanik not holding many in-person town halls.
Other people on Tuesday said they voted for Cobb because of health care.
“Her interest in community health care was evident,” said Queensbury voter Pamela Welch. “Stefanik is unavailable. I don’t think she really cares. Tedra may not have the same experience, but she’s interested in solutions.”
Still other people wanted to send a message to Trump by voting for the Democrat.
“Any roadblocks we put in his way is a good thing,” said Queensbury voter Tracy Webster.
Moreau voter Tyson Reed also supported Cobb.
“She seems reasonable though, a lot more reasonable than Stefanik,” Reed said.
Health care was among the dominant issues of the race. Cobb had hammered Stefanik over her votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which Cobb said would have caused 64,000 people in the district to lose health insurance coverage and deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Cobb started the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative.
Cobb said during the campaign that she supported any health care solution that achieves the goal of affordable and portable health care coverage.
Stefanik is opposed to a government-run health care plan. Among her proposals are to allow for two fully covered primary care visits per year instead of one, allowing employers to join together to purchase health care and allow purchase of health care across state lines.
Post-Star reporter Kathleen Moore and Watertown Daily Times reporter Abraham Kenmore contributed to this story.