Tedra L. Cobb, former candidate for New York’s 21st Congressional District, makes her election night appearance for an audience on Facebook Live at about 9:15 p.m. from the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Canton. Kara Dry/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Tedra L. Cobb thinks rural Democrats have been left behind, and she’s doing something to change that.

Ms. Cobb, the former Democratic candidate for New York’s 21st Congressional District, is launching a political action committee, called BackRoads PAC, to support Democratic House of Representatives candidates in rural districts races across the country.

“Rural America has been left behind,” Ms. Cobb said Thursday morning ahead of the PAC’s official launch. “It’s clear from the results of 2020 that rural voters just don’t hear enough from Democrats, and that has got to change.”

During her second run for Congress last year, Ms. Cobb developed a national profile, garnering attention from all over the country as she ran to unseat Republican Congresswoman Elise M. Stefanik of Schuylerville. Ms. Cobb said she took in more than $7 million in donations over two cycles, developed a donor list of significant length and created a platform from which she can support other Democrats in districts like New York’s 21st.

Ms. Cobb said her plan is to identify, vet and endorse between 10 and 15 candidates per election cycle, then provide training, connections and eventually financial support after the primaries.

Ms. Cobb said she thinks the most important metric is finding candidates who have deep connections in the communities they’re running for office in.

“I’ve lived here (in the north country) for 30 years, I’ve served in my community for 30 years, I know the district well and I know my community well,” she said. “I want to see that from other candidates.”

Ms. Cobb said she’s found that candidates familiar with their districts are the best at understanding the complexities of the issues their voters care about. She said voters aren’t monolithic, and you can’t just put a candidate in a district and hope for the best.

“I think people who know their community, are a part of their community and are passionate about making their communities better are the kinds of candidates I’m hoping to support,” Ms. Cobb said.

While it’s still too early to identify potential candidates in other races, Ms. Cobb said she plans to support opposition to Rep. Stefanik, as well as a number of other Republican members of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“It’s clear from the last week that Republicans have been willing to divorce themselves from any and all reality,” Ms. Cobb said. “Specifically, Republicans like Elise Stefanik, who even after an attempted armed insurrection voted not to certify the results of a free and fair election. Elise Stefanik and those members of Congress need to be held accountable.”

Rep. Stefanik has been widely criticized over the last week for her continued support of President Donald J. Trump following last week’s riots at the Capitol. She was prepared to share her objections to certifying electoral results in four states, as she and several Republican lawmakers had promised in the weeks leading up to the congressional certification of the Electoral College ballots, when the Capitol was overrun. She has also been criticized for continuing to object after the riots as other Republican loyalists of the president, such as Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, decided not to object and said, “Enough is enough.”

“This is laughable from a failed candidate who local Democrats will never allow on the ballot again,” said Alex Degrasse, senior advisor to Rep. Stefanik. “After losing by the biggest margin of any Democrat congressional candidate in the entire Northeast for the second time, Taxin’ Tedra seems to have forgotten that she got totally wiped out among rural voters in the North Country — especially in her home county! Her support for gun bans, higher taxes, and Medicare for All continues to make her toxic among rural voters.”

Ms. Cobb said she knows firsthand that running against Republican candidates in rural districts can be a tough fight.

In 2020, Ms. Cobb made her second run at the north country’s House seat. It was also her second race up against incumbent Rep. Stefanik. Ms. Cobb lost her run against Rep. Stefanik last year by a margin of 18 points. Rep. Stefanik has repeatedly said that in the 2020 election, she won more votes than any candidate in the history of the 21st Congressional District.

Nationally, Democrats lost at least 11 seats in the House, and flipped none.

“My goal is to help these candidates,” Ms. Cobb said. “I’m tough, I’m not going to lick my wounds — we’re going to fight like hell alongside these candidates. They need help, and I’m going to provide it.”

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(13) comments

Mallow53

Any one who puts them self out there to run for any office gets my prospect. It is not easy to run in any election. I suspect there will be more people willing. To get involved in local politics to hopefully prevent anything like Trump being elected again. Local elections effect us directly and Stefanik is not focusing on the North Country but busy sharing lies from Trump.

JohnMcElroy

Congresswoman Stefanik is preparing herself by being a loyal trooper which will mean all when she is considered for future appointments.

DJT

It is all about the money these fools will give. She can not win an election but will help others? Send her money In a year ask for audit. lmao

Pitbull

Do you respect Congresswoman Stefanik? You contradict yourself. Sentence 1 does not agree with sentence 5.

JohnMcElroy

A two time loser to republican Elise Stefanik is going to get in the trenches with rural democrat candidates? If I were contemplating a run for local office as a democrat I'm not sure I would enlist the help of a 2 time loser. Splendid idea Ms Cobb but are you sure you are the person for the job.

Holmes

You are correct however, money, money. It’s all about the money.

KRobbins

Yes, running for office requires money. Glad you pointed that out. It’s a shame some Republicans, including our own, are going to have to grovel a little harder. Eventually maybe even that Adelson and Koch money will go away.

Pitbull

And, kr, maybe Hollywood, Big Tech and Sorts money will go away.

KRobbins

launching a political action committee, called BackRoads PAC, to support Democratic House of Representatives candidates in rural districts races across the country.

It’s not local. And maybe you should try being a little less boorish. Yes, Cobb lost twice, but she had the courage to go out and run. Being a keyboard kommando is so much harder tho, isn’t it?

Holmes

Based on the outcome, the money invested didn’t have a very good rate of return on the dollar did it?

KRobbins

🥱

KRobbins

Maybe Tedra Cobb should’ve spent the last 2 months whining about it being a stolen election.

Pitbull

It wasn't even close. This district is filled with grounded people with a traditional outlook.

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