Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Stefanik touts GOP momentum in blue stronghold, implications for Trump in 2024: ‘Democrats have a NY problem’

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House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., spoke to Fox News Digital ahead of the 10-year anniversary of her major primary victory en route to her election to Congress, reflecting on turning a red tide in a blue stronghold and the implications that growing GOP momentum in New York could mean for former President Trump come Election Day. 

“Absolutely, Democrats have a New York problem. New York is increasingly Republican, is increasingly pro-Trump,” Stefanik said in an interview with Fox News Digital. “We won the House majority out of New York, beating back Democrats’ illegal attempt to gerrymander and illegally draw districts. We won fair district lines not once, but twice. I’m proud that New York picked up more seats than any other state when it came to winning the majority in the House. And we’re the last line of defense.” 

“President Trump knows and cares deeply about New York, given, you know, he is originally a New Yorker himself, pays very close attention and understands that we will expand this House majority by holding on and flipping seats in New York from blue to red,” Stefanik said. “There is not a single swing district, not just in New York, but across the country where Joe Biden is pulling ahead. President Trump is pulling ahead in every single House district across the country. And that’s why Democrats are running scared, not just in New York, but nationwide.” 

A decade ago on Monday, Stefanik defeated opponent Matt Doheny in a June 24, 2014, GOP primary by more than 20 points. She cruised to victory again that November, besting Democrat Aaron Wolf in the general election to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Bill Owens in New York’s 21st Congressional District, becoming the youngest woman ever elected to serve in Congress in United States history at the time.

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Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., during a news conference in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, June 13, 2024. Congressional Republicans met with Donald Trump in Washington for a show of support following his felony conviction last month.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

That district previously had been won by former President Obama twice. Reflecting back now, Stefanik told Fox News Digital she is grateful not only to Republican voters, but to the independent and Democrat voters in the 2014 election who helped set her on the trajectory to build a strong GOP infrastructure locally, resulting in Republicans flipping multiple county seats and town leadership level positions in a down-ballot red wave in upstate New York. 

“I’m proud to be one of the strongest supporters of President Trump. And my district really tells the story of today’s growing Republican Party,” she said. “It is Trump country and Elise country now.”

While Democrats have performed well nationally over the past two years, Republican candidates have won key races in New York, where several House seat pick-ups proved critical to the GOP regaining control of the lower chamber of Congress by a razor-thin margin. New York is the host of half a dozen competitive House races in 2024 on the heels of a criminal trial against Trump and at a time when President Biden and fellow Democrat, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, are seeing record-low approval ratings. 

“It is a referendum on Democrats’ failed policies, and it’s a referendum on Joe Biden-Kathy Hochul failed policies both at the federal level, but of course, at the state level as well,” Stefanik said of growing GOP momentum in the Empire State. “And we’re continuing to make inroads as Republicans in New York because we represent American values, we represent the rule of law, support law enforcement, we support border security. We support pro-economic growth, lowering taxes, not raising taxes that we continue to see coming out of Albany and Joe Biden.” 

During a presidential election year, the Democratic Party – in New York, in particular – appears to be struggling as progressives and more mainstream party members battle on messaging regarding Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists following the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks. 

“Squad” member Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., in a profanity-laced speech in the Bronx, recently lashed out against AIPAC, the pro-Israel group supporting his Democratic challenger, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, in the upcoming primary contest where race has also taken center stage. 

Stefanik, whose questioning of the presidents of Harvard, UPenn and MIT over failures in dealing with anti-Israel campus protests in December, argued that antisemitism is “a part of today’s Democratic Party.”

Stefanik addresses Faith and Freedom conference

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., speaks at the Faith and Freedom Road to Majority conference on June 21, 2024 in Washington, DC. Former President Donald Trump will deliver the keynote at the conservative conference later in the weekend. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

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“That was not a prepared question. That was a moral question. And I thought it was important to ask a direct moral question. And I was stunned and shocked and appalled by the morally bankrupt answers,” Stefanik said. “But I was proud to demonstrate clearly needed moral leadership on the global stage to combat the scourge of antisemitism. Frankly, antisemitism is a part of today’s Democratic Party, and it needs to be rooted out, and it needs to be destroyed and not allowed to fester the way antisemitism is wreaking havoc on these college campuses, putting Jewish students, Jewish faculty, Jewish community members at risk every day.” 

Turning to November’s election, Stefanik argued that Trump, following his conviction in New York, is gaining more support in response to “the weaponization of the courts to go after Joe Biden’s chief political opponent.”

“And the epitome of that has been Alvin Bragg’s illegal and unconstitutional targeting of President Trump,” she told Fox News Digital. “I have led the effort in terms of legal and ethics complaints, official complaints against Alvin Bragg and the rigged corrupt process. And I’m going to continue to do that. There is no one who has led more opposition in the House or the Senate when it comes to exposing the corruption of Alvin Bragg, where we have a violent crime crisis in New York. Yet he’s doing Joe Biden’s political bidding.”

Trump and Stefanik in New Hampshire

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., joins former President Donald Trump during a campaign rally on Jan. 19, 2024, in Concord, New Hampshire.  (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The congresswoman has pointed to how the Republican Party is expanding and growing under Trump’s leadership, highlighting historic new GOP support from African American voters, Hispanic American voters and Asian American voters. Stefanik also pointed to recent polling showing that Biden’s “lead among women continues to decline within single digits.” 

Despite Democrats campaigning heavily on abortion access since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Stefanik argued that “President Trump is making inroads among women because women voters care about all issues,” including those related to the economy, national security, family, education and the Constitution. 

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Now serving her fifth term, Stefanik spoke of how she led the national effort to increase the number of Republican women elected to Congress by founding Elevate PAC, also known as EPAC, which creates a road map for conservative women running for office. 

“In 2018, we were down to 13. We’re now up to 36,” Stefanik said. “And EPAC, my leadership operation focusing on supporting Republican women, has been a big part of promoting those women. And they are very supportive of President Trump. And this has all happened at the growing Republican Party under President Trump’s leadership. That’s one of the reasons why you’re seeing in New York state, President Trump’s polling stronger than any Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan. So certainly, over the course of my lifetime, he has a historic pull within single digits today.” 



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