In 2015, Republican Elise Stefanik made history as the youngest woman elected to Congress.
After her high profile role in the House impeachment hearings, her status continues to rise in the party despite a multi-million dollar national effort by Democrats to unseat her.
Stefanik’s stand-out role in House impeachment hearings sparked unprecedented levels of political donations to Stefanik and her Democratic opponent, Tedra Cobb, promising a well-funded and contentious rematch between the adversaries in 2020.
Stefanik, a Schuylerville Republican, raised more than $3.2 million in 2019’s fourth quarter, the largest haul on record for any candidate in that congressional seat, her campaign said Wednesday. In the last three months of the year, she raised more than twice what she collected in the first nine months, Federal Election Commission records show.
Cobb told Politico her campaign raised more than $2 million in the fourth quarter. Cobb, a Canton resident, said in November she raised $1 million over three days during the impeachment hearings. In the first nine months of the year, she raised about $650,000.
Times Union reports on Friday, Stefanik visited her constituents and toured local businesses in this Fulton County town, where, with a population of roughly 9,000, the Schuylerville Republican is somewhat of a celebrity.
She started her day at Partner’s Pub, a lively spot where roughly 75 people packed a back room to hear from the congresswoman. Outside, those who had come for the bar’s weekday lunch rush ogled from their tables a few feet away.
America-themed apparel and Make America Great Again hats were abound, as Stefanik offered a brief speech before taking photos with supporters. She hit all the points: Backing President Donald Trump, boosting the economy, protecting the Second Amendment, criticizing her opponent, Tedra Cobb — just to name a few.
The crowd loved it. And they loved her.
“U-S-A! U-S-A!” two young men chanted as Stefanik spoke. At a table nearby, an older woman whispered to her friend: “She speaks so well.” Local elected officials who turned out to show their support wore “Elise for Congress” stickers on their chests.
“She’s one of the strongest young women leaders that we have in America today, without a doubt,” said Assemblyman Robert Smullen, R-Johnstown.
Surely, that kind of energy can be expected at a campaign stop. Cobb has had her own handful of events where, from her perspective, it seemed as if the 21st Congressional District, which Stefanik has easily carried since 2014, may be shifting to the left.
But on Friday, Stefanik’s celebrity status followed her to two tours of local manufacturing businesses. The congresswoman stopped by Epimed, a medical device manufacturer, where its executives thanked her for her work in Washington, D.C., and pledged their support.
They spent about an hour discussing the repeal of the medical device tax, the opioid crisis and Epimed’s role in upstate New York. As Stefanik headed out, she joked with them about taking a new photo to replace a six-year-old picture in the company’s main lobby featuring U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat.
At her next stop, at Electro-Metrics Antenna Design, the executives were less up-front about political support for the congresswoman, but employees were not as shy. She introduced herself as Elise, and several of them thanked her for representing the district and “standing up” for Trump in the nation’s capital.
“It’s always amazing for me to see the diversity of things that we produce in the North Country and ways that I can help support our manufacturers,” Stefanik said.