Stefanik blames Pelosi for Capitol riot

Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, speaks to supporters on election night 2020 at her victory party in Glens Falls. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

New campaign finance records show Rep. Elise M. Stefanik has again massively outraised her opposition in the race for the NY-21 House of Representatives seat.

According to financial records released July 15, Rep. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, took in $1,139,643 in individual contributions alone in the quarter covering April 1 to June 30, for a total of $1,246,920 in total contributions to her campaign. That marks a record for any north country Congressional candidate’s campaign income in a non-election year.

About $1,139,643 was donated by over 25,000 individuals to Rep. Stefanik in the last quarter, with 10,000 being first-time donors and an average donation of $29. Rep. Stefanik raised over $850,000 in total from small-dollar donors in the last quarter.

The 18 largest donors to the Stefanik campaign, who all have contributed $5,800 to the congresswoman’s re-election campaign since the end of last year’s election, are from various areas of the country including Lake George and Saranac Lake in NY-21, as well as Texas, South Carolina, Florida, Puerto Rico, Arizona and New Jersey.

Overall, the Stefanik campaign has brought in over $2.8 million for her campaign for re-election this cycle, and the campaign currently has $2,101,189 in cash available to spend, with no debts.

In a statement from June 13 announcing the preliminary totals, Rep. Stefanik said she is humbled and grateful for the small-dollar financial support she’s seen in this election cycle.

“It’s clear that grassroots patriots across America are fired up, energized, and donating in historic numbers,” she said. “We’ve already seen a record number of Republican candidates step up to run this cycle, many of them GOP Women, and we are committed to helping get them elected. Momentum is on our side to take back the House and fire (House of Representatives speaker) Nancy Pelosi once and for all.”

Alex DeGrasse, senior adviser to Rep. Stefanik, said Rep. Stefanik outraised Rep. Stefanik’s main opposition, Matthew F. Putorti, tenfold, and also out-raised him just in small-dollar donations from voters inside the district.

Mr. Putorti is one of two candidates running for the Democratic nomination in the race. Last quarter, he brought in $213,128, all from individual contributions. Mr. Putorti announced his candidacy on June 14, so his campaign was only taking in contributions for 16 days out of the quarter.

In a statement sent July 1, after the last quarter ended, Mr. Putorti said he considers the total amount he raised to be a strong sign of success, and a sign that there is support for a different kind of politician than Rep. Stefanik.

“This outpouring of grassroots fundraising support is a reflection that her brand of politics is toxic and unwanted,” Mr. Putorti said. “I am so appreciative of every person who made a contribution, signed up to volunteer, or offered words of encouragement. Starting off strong allows us to build the kind of campaign that organizes across the district and has the resources to both amplify our message of the things we believe in and to hold Elise Stefanik accountable.”

Mr. Putorti raised about $57,000 in small donations under $200, and $155,876 in larger donations. There were five people who gave $5,800 total to Mr. Putorti’s campaign, becoming his largest supporters. Four are residents of New York City and one is from Haverford, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia.

Mr. Putorti has $194,684 in cash available, and the campaign reported it owes about $37,000 to ASP Media for the production of its initial campaign ads.

Lonny Koons, a Carthage resident who is running against Rep. Stefanik for the Republican nomination, said his campaign took in about $5,000 and spent about the same amount between April and June. Mr. Koons’ campaign finance records were not available from the Federal Election Commission as of Tuesday, although he said he sent in the documents on July 12.

FEC officials said most employees of the commission are still working from home, and any campaign finance filings sent in on paper, rather than digitally, will likely not be processed until next week.

Ezra Watson, Walton resident who is running as a progressive challenger against Mr. Putorti for the Democratic nomination, also did not have campaign finance information readily available on the FEC webpage Tuesday. Mr. Watson said Tuesday that he has not yet raised $5,000, and did not need to file a report this month.

FEC guidelines state that a campaign committee must file a quarterly report if they have received or expect to receive at least $50,000 in contributions in that fiscal year.

Mr. Watson said he intends to wait until Oct. 15, the next filing deadline, before submitting a campaign finance report, and will file regardless of how much money he has raised by that point.

As Rep. Stefanik’s campaign has raised significantly more money than her competitors, it has also spent much more. Rep. Stefanik’s campaign spent nearly $650,000. That includes typical campaign costs like postage, cell phone service, financial consulting work and political strategist consulting.

The campaign spent about $8,000 for media monitoring services from American Rising Corporation, a Republican outfit that offers opposition research, rapid public relations response and other services. It also spent $20,000 for the services of North Country Strategies, LLC., the political consulting agency owned and operated by Mr. DeGrasse.

Rep. Stefanik’s campaign also made a number of contributions to other political campaigns and the National Republican Congressional Committee, which recruits and supports Republicans in races across the country. Her campaign transferred $1 million to the NRCC, and donated $250 to the Essex County Republican Committee. Jerry Carl for Congress, a Congressional campaign in Alabama, and the re-election campaign for Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, both received $1,000. Liz Joy, a Republican running in NY-20; Tony Gonzales, who is running for office in Texas; and Derrick Van Orden, who is running in Wisconsin, all received $2,000 from Rep. Stefanik’s campaign.

Rep. Stefanik’s campaign also gave $500 to Peter Crummey, a former town justice who is running for Colonie town supervisor.

Mr. Putorti’s campaign made very few expenditures in the last cycle. The campaign paid $10,000 to Blueprint Interactive for online advertising, and its only other expenditure was $8,342.22 in credit card processing fees to ActBlue, the fundraising platform where most of Mr. Putorti’s supporters donated.

Each candidate will be required to file another campaign finance report in October, to cover the months of July, August and September. The candidates have just under a year left before the primary elections in June of 2022, where the two candidates to stand in the general election in November will be decided.

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