After eight congressional candidates, hoping to unseat U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, responded to questions for nearly three hours during the NY-21 Congressional Candidates Forum in South Glens Falls on Sunday, Democrat Tedra Cobb emerged as the frontrunner from a straw poll of 176 attendees.
The event at the Moreau Community Center drew nearly 200 who, by a show of hands, indicated they were there to learn more about the candidates and their platforms.
It was indeed a packed house. I'm really impressed that so many turned out on a Sunday when there are football playoffs on and it was freaking cold. The straw poll that was taken allowed attendees to vote for 3 candidates. the results shook out as:
Of those hoping to compete in the Democratic Primary:
Tedra Cobb, 23 %
Patrick Nelson, 17%
Emily Martz, 14 %
Tanya Boone, 12 %
Ronald Kim, 10%
Don Boyajian, 9%
Katie Wilson, 7%
Sara Idleman 7%
I'm pretty happy with that order of finish. Had a hard time narrowing my choices down from 5 to 3. First, I'll say there were no candidates that I wouldn't be happy to support in November. Ron Kim, Don Boyajian and Sara Idleman were the 3 that I eliminated just for the reason that they didn't excite me in any way. Sara just entered the race in the last week or so and I don't understand why with 7 very good people running already.
Patrick is the flip side. I believe he's been running since the day after the election last November. He's a great speaker and very bright and knowledgeable. I'd have a hard time choosing between him and Tedra because all those factors apply to her as well. Emily was my favorite going in and I still like her a lot. If I was ordering that list I'd move Katie Wilson up to fifth. Tanya Boone was also well spoken and impressive.
Really any of the top four finishers would be a wonderful candidate. I'm looking forward to maybe making it to another forum or two. It's unfortunate that the 21st district encompasses most of northern NY. It would be great to get the number of folks running whittled down to a more reasonable number. It's great that there is such interest in running, tho.
One thing that thrills me is that they are all very legit residents of the district and have been for eons. In 2014, Bill Owens who was the Democratic rep for our district did a late dropout and left Dems scrambling. Aaron Woolf was recruited to run and had loose ties to the area. This was Stefanik's first race and she had loose ties as well. She grew up in Westport, left at 18 and never looked back until she wanted to run for Congress. (Well, what about Hillary?) Sorry, I just always expect to hear that. Anyway, the Dems ran Mike Derrick in 2016 and he was career military so not having ties to the 21st could be excused. In any case, he was not a scintillating candidate. Tedra Cobb is.
Here's an article from the Wash Po about the interest in running nationwide. It could be worse. According to the article, there are 17 Dems registered to compete for the right to take on Scott Walker. Here was some really great news from it. There are also what sound like some high quality folks wanting to take on John Faso in the district below mine.
“No party has ever lost an election because of too much energy or too much momentum,” said Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), who leads the House Democratic election effort. “It’s a challenge, but it’s a challenge that we welcome.”
In other races, the crowds are notable not just for their size, but for the résumés and fundraising of the contenders. Democrats are arguing less about policy than about who has the strongest biography to present against the incumbent.
In New York’s 19th District, a competitive slice of the Hudson Valley held by Rep. John Faso (R-N.Y.), six Democrats are running, including two graduates of Harvard Law School, an Iraq War veteran who graduated from Georgetown and the U.S. Military Academy, a former CIA officer who became a schoolteacher, and a wealthy businessman who has loaned his campaign $500,000.
Three of them boast of supporting Medicare for All on their campaign websites; two have raised more money than the incumbent.