Republicans in New York’s 21st Congressional District have formally endorsed Elise Stefanik of Willsboro as their chosen congressional candidate in the North Country’s 21st District.
The announcement, sent out by Franklin County Republican Committee Chair Ray Scollin, caps a month-long process during which interested candidates crisscrossed the sprawling, 16,500 square mile district, speaking with each county’s Republican committee.
After meeting with hundreds of members, Stefanik overwhelmingly won the support of the district’s Republican County Committees, Scollin said. Eleven of the 12 committees independently voted to endorse Stefanik. One county abstained from endorsing any candidate at this time, he said.
Stefanik’s campaign office says she received “more than 87 percent of the total county committee weighted vote.”
“We appreciate the efforts put forth by all of our prospective candidates, and we are fortunate to have such individuals from which to select our next Member of Congress,” said Essex County Chairman Ron Jackson, who also serves as New York State Republican Committee Regional Vice-Chair. “Elise possesses the drive, small business experience, and institutional knowledge necessary to create jobs while faithfully representing the aspirations and values of North Country residents.”
Stefanik beat out several announced rivals and at least one potential candidate who has not openly spoken of the nomination.
The most recent announced candidate is Jamie Waller of Lake Pleasant, who told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise this week will be a candidate, although he admits to being a long shot. The former Marine and former paid staffer for 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum said he did not expect the official Republican committees endorsement
The other candidates are former St. Lawrence County Emergency Services Director Joseph Gilbert; Michael Ring, a broadcast engineer from Jefferson County.
And Matt Doheny, a Watertown businessman who twice lost to Plattsburgh Democrat and current 21st District Rep. Bill Owens, has not said he will run, but he is the beneficiary of a poll – done by his former polling service – that this week indicated that support among Republicans for him is stronger than that for Stefanik.
Stefanik, a 2006 Harvard University graduate, works for her family's business, Premium Plywood Products, a wholesale plywood distributor. She moved back to the North Country from Washington after serving as a domestic policy advisor in the George W. Bush White House and then as a debate preparer for the 2012 vice-presidential campaign of Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan.
“I’m humbled by the endorsement today by the North Country GOP Chairs," Stefanik said in a prepared statement for the press.
“It shows our campaign's message to bring new ideas and new leadership to Washington is resonating throughout Upstate,” Stefanik stated. “But we’re just getting started – I will continue working as hard as I ever have to earn the support of Republicans, Conservatives and Independents across the district to win this seat back.”
The Republican County Chairs in the district released the following joint statement: “January was a busy month not only for the candidates, but for the committees, and Elise Stefanik demonstrated why she will make an outstanding congresswoman representing Upstate New York. Elise knows the issues, understands the regulatory hurdles burdening small businesses, and she has energetically worked throughout this long and transparent process. We are not surprised by the overwhelming support she received from the committees. She’s someone Republicans, Conservatives and Independents can all rally around.”
The district includes St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, Warren and Washington counties, as well as portions of Herkimer and Saratoga counties.