On Tuesday, the campaign to re-elect Representative Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, relaunched a website attacking her Democratic opponent, Tedra L. Cobb.
The website, TaxinTedra.com, which has been active since 2018, was updated for this election cycle, and specifically names five issues the Stefanik campaign takes issue with from Ms. Cobb’s platform.
“Voter’s deserve to know where candidates stand on key issues like taxes, 2nd Amendment, Medicare for All, national security, and who they support for President,” said Stefanik campaign communications director Madison Anderson in a statement announcing the updated site. “Taxin’ Tedra Cobb continues to hide her Far-Left positions and radical record from North Country voters.”
Some of the claims included on the website have been debunked repeatedly by both journalists covering the race between Ms. Stefanik and Ms. Cobb, and by Ms. Cobb herself. The first issue the website identifies is Ms. Cobb’s stance on healthcare. The page claims Ms. Cobb supports Medicare for all, including undocumented immigrants.
“Taxin’ Tedra believes taxpayers should have to spend trillions of dollars for Medicare for All for illegal immigrants,” the site reads. “Her own campaign website included her support for Medicare for All for non-citizens before she frantically deleted her position to hide it from North Country voters.”
Last election cycle, Ms. Cobb publicly stated she supports Medicare for all, “or something like that,” during a campaign event. But as reported by the Post Star in February, Ms. Cobb said after years of discussion with doctors and constituents, she had decided an option to buy into Medicare is a better solution than automatic, mandated Medicare for everyone.
“I believe in choice, choice to keep what you have and choice to buy into Medicare,” Ms. Cobb said in an interview with the Times earlier this month. “Healthcare is a deeply personal choice to people, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.”
The website also hits Ms. Cobb on her gun control stance. The page prominently features a video taken of Ms. Cobb in 2018, which was apparently recorded without her knowledge. In it, Ms. Cobb is speaking with a group of teenage volunteers, and said although she personally supports an assault rifle ban, she cannot say that publicly without destroying her chances at winning the election.
The TaxinTedra.com page says Ms. Cobb “supports an unconstitutional gun ban...and lies about it.”
Ms. Cobb’s campaign website says she’s “committed to maintaining an individual’s access to firearms for safe hunting and personal protection, while working to minimize gun violence.”
The page says Ms. Cobb believes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should be able to research causes and solutions to gun violence, and the federal government should implement universal background checks and ban bump stocks or other modifications that could be used to make a firearm fully automatic, among other policies.
The TaxinTedra.com website also includes a page criticizing Ms. Cobb’s stance on law enforcement and the border. The page states Ms. Cobb has sided with “rioters and looters calling to defund our police departments.”
In an interview with the Times last month, Ms. Cobb did say she supports the Democratic legislation that would address concerns with policing, but she does not support defunding the police.
“I don’t support defunding the police,” she said. “I do think we need reforms, I do support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which is a bipartisan bill, we need to ban chokeholds and strangleholds, eliminate no-knock warrants, we can require de-escalation, and we certainly should be demanding the duty to intervene.”
When Rep. Stefanik was asked why she continues to say her opponent supports defunding the police, she said Ms. Cobb has expressed support for “redirecting funding” away from police departments in Zoom calls with supporters.
“The context was, as she’s having Zoom calls across the district, she has said she publicly supports redirecting funding,” Rep. Stefanik said during a “Back the Blue” press conference on Aug. 6.
Ms. Cobb said last month she believes social programs should be used to support the mission of police, and things like mental healthcare, addiction treatment and other social programs should be seriously funded.
“It’s not a matter of choice, we need to think about it in terms of a holistic approach,” Ms. Cobb said. “Our police officers are asked to do a lot of things, especially in our communities here. So, we need to expand funding for the services that will help police do what they do better, but will also keep our communities safer.”
The Stefanik campaign has also repeatedly accused Ms. Cobb of advocating for “open borders.” Earlier this month, Ms. Cobb said she believes the Southern border with Mexico should be “shored up,” but policies like family separation need to be ended.
The claims the page makes about Ms. Cobb’s stance on the last December’s impeachment trial for the president are accurate. The page links to multiple reports detailing Ms. Cobb’s support for the impeachment trial. Ms. Cobb said during the impeachment trial for President Donald J. Trump that she would’ve voted to convict him.
On national security, the Stefanik campaign has repeatedly criticized Ms. Cobb for talking about the accusations that a Russian intelligence agency offered Taliban-linked militants money to kill American and other coalition soldiers in Afghanistan. The TaxinTedra.com page on national security says Ms. Cobb has put the lives of soldiers at risk by talking about what it calls “unsubstantiated and dangerous classified intelligence leaks.”
For her part, Ms. Cobb has repeatedly criticized Rep. Stefanik for what she’s termed “silence” on the issue of the bounties.
When asked for comment Tuesday on the website and the claims it includes, Cobb campaign manager Gabie Hart said the website is a tactic meant to distract from Rep. Stefanik’s positions.
“These are long-debunked attacks and lies only meant to distract from the fact that Stefanik has voted to throw 64,000 people in this district off their healthcare and gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions,” Ms. Hart said in an emailed statement. “Instead of focusing on the health and safety of people in the North Country, she has repeatedly voted to line the pockets of her corporate mega-donors. Stefanik is again showing voters that she cannot run on her record and win.”