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Stefanik wins a fourth term in Congress

Rep. Elise Stefanik gives a victory speech at her election night headquarters at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls Nov. 3, 2020. (Provided photo — Christopher Lenney, Watertown Daily Times)

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, declared victory on Tuesday night as unofficial results showed that she had a won a rematch with Democrat Tedra Cobb in a convincing fashion.

With 92% of the precincts reporting, Stefanik had 64% of the votes compared with 35% for Cobb and was set to win reelection for a fourth two-year term.

“I am so overwhelmed, but what is important tonight is this is your congressional seat, the people’s seat, and I am so proud to serve as the voice and the vote for the people of New York’s 21st Congressional District,” she said at a rally held in an outdoor tent at The Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls, where she was with over a 100 fellow GOP candidates and supporters.

“This has been the toughest race that I’ve ever run, and I want to thank you for the overwhelming vote of support,” she said.

She thanked her husband and her volunteers for their help.

Tedra L. Cobb, candidate for New York’s 21st Congressional District, makes an election night appearance for an audience on Facebook Live around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday night from the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Canton. (Provided photo — Kara Dry, Watertown Daily Times)

Stefanik was leading in all 12 counties of the district and confidently predicted that she would pull off a sweep. The district covers all of Warren, Washington, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties and portions of Saratoga and Herkimer counties.

There were more than 68,000 absentee ballots requested in the district. Nearly 56,000 ballots had been returned as of Monday afternoon. But Stefanik led Cobb by more than 70,000 votes.

Voters like Topher Montville, of Lake George, said at the polls that he believes Stefanik deserved another term.

Montville, who is not enrolled in a party, is a teacher at the Whitehall Central School District. The junior-senior high school was ravaged by flooding earlier this year after heavy storms dumped more than 5 inches of rain in the Washington County town in under an hour.

The district continues to battle with its insurance company over the repairs, but Montville said Stefanik has stepped up for the district in the weeks since the incident.

Rep. Elise Stefanik waves to supporters at her election night headquarters at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls Tuesday, Nov. 3. (Provided photo — Christopher Lenney, Watertown Daily Times)

“She was one of the only representatives that really stood up and actually asked, ‘What can we do to help?'” he said. “When you’re working in education, you really want to know that you’re supported politically.”

Montville said Stefanik shows that’s she’s willing to help constituents and it is proof that she is willing to follow through on the things she says. He added that he doesn’t always agree with some of her choices as a politician, but said she has worked across party lines enough to secure his vote.

“At least somebody is willing to take red and blue and make it purple, because those two colors together make America,” Montville said.

Earlier in the night, Cobb expressed gratitude to her supporters in a Facebook video as she waited for the results.

“I just want to take this moment to remind everybody why we’re here. We are here because everyone deserves to have health care. We are here because people deserve to retire with dignity,” she said. “We’re here because our children and their future deserve clean air and clean water.”

“We are in this fight because Elise Stefanik voted against each and every one of those things,” Cobb added.

After midnight, Cobb gave her concession speech.

“I want to congratulate Elise Stefanik on her victory tonight, and I want to thank my family, my husband Scott, for standing with me through these last four years. They’ve been hard, but 30 years ago you made a promise, in your belief in me, and you delivered. And I love you. To my children, Ansel and Aida, you will change the world. You’ve changed mine. And this is for you.”

Cobb continued: “I know that there are still ballots out there left to be counted, and I want you to know that these votes matter. Every voice in this election matters. And we look forward to certifying the results of this race in the coming weeks. But friends, we know that there are just not enough ballots out there to get us over the finish line.”

Cobb noted that her campaign had raised over $5.7 million and recruited over 3,000 volunteers and 130 interns.

“Those volunteers and my amazing field team made over 5 million calls to voters, wrote 40,000 postcards and letters, and sent over 1 million texts, securing unprecedented support from across the country together,” she said. “Friends, this is unprecedented, and work that will help Democrats up and down the ballot for decades to come.”

“This campaign proved to Washington insiders that rural America and the North Country isn’t just a place worth romanticizing. It isn’t just a purple dot on an electoral map, it’s not an election year bellwether, it’s not a place for cheap political language and a photo op. It’s a place worth fighting for, it’s a place of amazing strength and resolve. It’s a place worth loving, and it’s a place to call home,” Cobb said.

During the campaign, health care was a major issue. Cobb criticized Stefanik for voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act and voting against a bill to lower prescription drug prices. Stefanik accused Cobb of supporting a government takeover of health care. Cobb favors adding a public option to Medicare, but did not support Medicare for all.

Stefanik’s close ties to President Donald Trump was a key issue in the race. Stefanik aggressively questioned witnesses during his impeachment hearings, which raised her profile and that of Cobb’s. Money flowed into both of their campaigns from all over the country. Stefanik also served as co-chairperson of Trump’s New York reelection campaign Cobb criticized Stefanik for not speaking out aggressively when reports came out that Russia was putting bounties on the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan. Stefanik said the intelligence is unverified.

Stefanik in turn accused Cobb of increasing taxes during her time on the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators, and said that Cobb did not support Second Amendment rights and that Cobb wants a government takeover of health care. Stefanik also alleged that Cobb supported defunding police, based on her vote not to fill a vacant deputy sheriff’s position.

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The Watertown Daily Times contributed reporting about Tedra Cobb’s concession speech to this story.

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