WATERTOWN — A Republican-led, anti-Trump political action committee has made Rep. Elise M. Stefanik the target of a recent ad series circulating on TV and online.
In an advertisement released Jan. 22 titled “What happened, Elise?” the super PAC said Rep. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, had a bright future as a “compassionate conservative” — calling her a “different kind of Republican” when she was first elected — but has thrown it all away in support of former President Donald J. Trump.
“Such a bright future,” the video’s narrator says. “Now, she’s just another sad Trump apologist.”
The Lincoln Project is a PAC formed in late 2019 by many Republicans and former Republicans, focused largely on defeating Mr. Trump in his re-election bid.
The project’s ad accuses Rep. Stefanik of staying silent while Mr. Trump encouraged racists and attacked women.
The ad also compares Rep. Stefanik to two newly elected members of Congress — Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Lauren O. Boebert, R-Colo. — who have garnered criticism for supporting the QAnon conspiracy theory and opposing public health restrictions during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Jan. 22 ad isn’t the first in this most recent slate of attack ads leveled at the congresswoman.
In an online ad released Jan. 15, the PAC accused Rep. Stefanik of being culpable for the Jan. 6 riots that saw supporters of Mr. Trump ransack the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
“This is your coup. This is your siege. This is your insurrection,” the ad’s narrator says over images of the riots. “With your support for Donald Trump, you (Rep. Stefanik) have brought this shame to America.”
Rep. Stefanik has faced national criticism since Mr. Trump’s first impeachment hearings in November 2019. She was called a “rising Republican star” by the former president for her defense of him. She was eventually appointed as one of his honorary campaign co-chairs for New York state.
The criticism reignited when Rep. Stefanik vowed to vote to contest the results of the presidential election for four states — Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin — during the ceremonial counting of states’ Electoral College votes on Jan. 6. After the Capitol building riots ended and Congress returned to its chambers to finish the count, Rep. Stefanik was one of a number of House Republicans who continued with their planned objections, although she was only afforded the opportunity to vote against certifying Pennsylvania’s results.
Rep. Stefanik has also taken criticism for opposing the impeachment of the former president a second time over his alleged involvement in inciting the Jan. 6 riots.
Last week, House Democrats said they will send the article of impeachment against Mr. Trump to the Senate on Monday, and the trial will start the week of Feb. 8.
Rep. Stefanik’s senior adviser, Alex DeGrasse, said Rep. Stefanik and her constituents aren’t swayed by the efforts of the Lincoln Project.
He referenced the sexual harassment scandal that ousted the PAC’s co-founder John Weaver last summer. Mr. Weaver said in a statement to Axios on Jan. 15 that he sent “inappropriate and sexually charged messages to multiple men.”
Mr. DeGrasse also called another project co-founder, Rick Wilson, a “confederate sympathizer,” which is apparently in reference to another scandal where Mr. Wilson posted pictures on Instagram featuring a cooler with the Confederate Flag and the words “The South Will Rise Again” on the top.
“Democrats, Never Trumpers, and scam PAC organizations like the Lincoln Project spent nearly 7 million dollars trying to beat Congresswoman Stefanik,” he said. “And north country voters stunningly rebuked these desperate Never Trump organizations by re-electing Elise with the highest number of votes of any Congressional candidate in the history of the north country.”
On the Lincoln Project’s twitter, the PAC has released ads targeting U.S. Sen. Josh D. Hawley, R-Mo. The Hill reports the organization is also planning to target Sen. Rafael “Ted” E. Cruz, R-Texas.