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Stefanik Secures Second Term

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Lucas Willard
/
WAMC

Update 11/14/16: Assemblyman Dan Stec ran against Green Party candidate Robin Barkenhagen. WAMC erroneously reported Stec ran unopposed. The original audio file remains posted to this story.

In 2014, Republican Elise Stefanik became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Two years later, at age 32, she is the youngest woman reelected.

“We did it again!,” cheered Stefanik.

Similar to 2014, Stefanik faced two challengers in the race for the district that stretches from Saratoga County to the Canadian border. Again on the ballot was Matt Funiciello, representing the Green Party. Mike Derrick, a retired Army Lt. Colonel, ran his first campaign for the district as a Democrat.

Two years ago Stefanik carried the 21st District with 53 percent in a three-way race. Her margin increased this year by 10 percentage points according to unofficial results.

Claiming victory early, Stefanik spoke to an enthusiastic crowd at Republican headquarters at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls.

“We have fought for small business, for students, for farmers and for veterans. And I couldn’t have done it without all of your help,” said Stefanik.

Stefanik’s victory speech echoed what she touted on the campaign trail, including bringing “new ideas” to Washington and fighting for veterans at Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division.  

She also thanked her opponents for running a “robust race.”

Derrick pulled 29 percent of the vote, 3 points behind Democrat Aaron Woolf’s mark in 2014. Funiciello took 5 percent, halving his support from two years ago.

Derrick congratulated Stefanik on her win. Funiciello told the Post-Star he was disappointed but is prepared to run again.

Also celebrating at Republican HQ alongside Stefanik was state Assemblyman Dan Stec, who faced Green Party candidate Robin Barkenhagen.  Stec, who has authored a pension forfeiture bill, said he would continue fighting for ethics reforms in Albany.

“We got sidetracked with some serious ethics and corruption problems. And if this is going to be my signature issue, then I welcome that. I’ll pick up that ball and I’ll carry that ball for you any day of the week,” said Stec.

Funiciello’s effect on local races could perhaps be seen in the 45th State Senate District, where Republican Betty Little had only one challenger: Green Party candidate Stephen Ruzbacki.

Ruzbacki, whose campaign was upset after he was arrested in October for unlawful possession of marijuana, received 10 percent of the vote against Little’s 75 percent. 15 percent of ballots were left blank.

Little remarked on Stefanik’s challengers before the crowd of cheering supporters.

“They weren’t weak opponents, they were campaigning. And they did a lot of campaigning and everything else. So she really was tested in this second term run, but when you come out with a 24-, 26-point lead, we know we have the best candidate you can have,” said Little.

Also celebrating in Glens Falls was Ted Wilson, who was elected Warren County family court judge over Democrat Rob Smith. 

And Stefanik will return to Washington as she first encountered it: as a member of the majority.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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