Castelli to hold Saranac Lake town hall today

Matt Castelli is seen at Riverside Park in Saranac Lake on May 22 during a campaign stop. He won the Democratic nomination to take on U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, in November. ​ (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

SARANAC LAKE — NY-21 Democratic candidate Matt Castelli will be in Saranac Lake today to speak at a town hall at Historic Saranac Lake and take questions from voters as the Nov. 8 election approaches in 55 days.

The Q&A event will be held at the Saranac Laboratory Museum at 89 Church St. at 6:30 p.m. in the John Black room.

This event is titled as an “Essex County Town Hall” on Castelli’s event page, but the museum where it takes place is in Franklin County, a fact incumbent Rep. Elise Stefanik’s campaign has pointed out as evidence that her opponent “has zero ties to the North Country.”

“Literally every NY21 voter knows the Historic Saranac Lake Museum is in Franklin County,” Stefanik’s senior advisor, Alex DeGrasse, wrote in a news release Tuesday.

DeGrasse called this an “embarrassing gaffe.” The Saranac Laboratory Museum is 800 feet from the county line.

“With 56 days to go, this Downstate Democrat from Poughkeepsie can’t hide that he truly is nothing more than a Downstate Democrat totally out of touch with the North Country when he announced an ‘Essex County’ event that is actually located in Franklin County,” DeGrasse wrote. “It’s a good thing this Downstate Democrat signed a short-term lease because in 56 days, voters will send him back to Poughkeepsie.”

Castelli responded Tuesday, saying Essex County organizers chose the location for the event, which is close to the county line.

“If Elise Stefanik actually spent time in NY-21, she might learn that Saranac Lake is a village that uniquely covers three towns and straddles two counties,” Castelli wrote in a statement. “While Stefanik is afraid to meet with voters, I will always meet directly with them, wherever they like.”

Castelli has been promoting the Moderate Party ballot line, which he’ll appear under on the Nov. 8 ballot, too. Stefanik will appear on the Republican and Conservative party lines.

When Castelli won a primary election for the Democratic Party line last month, Stefanik’s campaign branded him as a “carpetbagger” — an outsider who runs in a district where they haven’t lived.

Castelli was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, attended Siena College in Albany and lived in Washington, D.C. during his career. He has said he’s an “upstate New York guy.” He moved into an apartment in Glens Falls this spring, according to the Castelli campaign.

Stefanik was also branded as a “carpetbagger” in her first race for her seat, as Democrats accused her of exaggerating her North Country cred.

Stefanik grew up near Albany and her parents had a seasonal home in Willsboro they summered at every year. She went to Harvard in Massachusetts, lived in Washington, D.C. when she worked in the George W. Bush White House and bought a home in Willsboro the year before she ran for Congress. Stefanik now lives in Schuylerville.


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