Letter: Stefanik Campaign Misleads on Tedra Cobb

She also claimed that Tedra was “out of touch,” which is contradictory in light of the army of volunteers Tedra has amassed and the fact that she has lived in Canton for most of her adult life.


One of the things that was notable about the Democratic primary was that candidates were, in general, highly respectful of one another. The tone has now changed. The incumbent Elise Stefanik has entered the ring, and her campaign showed zero hesitation, launching misleading attack ads in less than 12 hours.

First, Stefanik made a Facebook post claiming that this was a divisive primary, despite that Tedra Cobb had 56 percent of the vote. That’s a landslide in a field of five. She also claimed that Tedra was “out of touch,” which is contradictory in light of the army of volunteers Tedra has amassed and the fact that she has lived in Canton for most of her adult life. Stefanik’s claims are especially quizzical in light of her relative absence. She has repeatedly refused to hold town halls (save one televised town hall), instead doing gatherings in obscure parts of the north country at times when nobody can attend. She also does telephone based town halls that allow no way to see if the crowd actually agrees with her statements. This all strikes me as an active effort to avoid her constituents.

A second misleading salvo was fired in video form, likely prepared weeks in advance. In it, she dubs Tedra as Taxin’ Tedra, citing tax increases that she voted for during her long career in the St. Lawrence County legislature. Stefanik’s campaign provides evidence — a graph of taxes levied from 2003 to 2010. These show increases that they attribute to Tedra. This all ignores that Tedra also has voted for tax breaks and public aid of various sorts throughout her career. They also twist the data, mixing up tax levies and tax rates, all whilst implying that inflationary growth is the same as a tax increases. The growth also has happened since Tedra left, suggesting that she wasn’t the cause. In 2010 tax levies were at $42 million. In 2017 they were $47.5 million, despite a Republican controlled local legislature. Add to this that these tax hikes were motivated by budget cuts and unfunded mandates on the state and federal levels under Republicans George W. Bush and George Pataki, and you can see the spin.

It’s a bad start and a negative tone out of the gate. Time will tell how Tedra’s campaign responds, but I don’t think it can get much more lazy and spun to death than Elise’s flailing.

Matt Manierre, Potsdam

From a Letter to the Editor originally published in the Watertown Daily Times, dated July 17, 2018.

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