Congresswoman Elise M. Stefanik announced Friday she raised over $500,000 in less than two hours after she appeared Thursday on Fox News with Sean Hannity.
The donations came into the Republican congresswoman after she spoke on Sean Hannity’s program, saying the “Democrats’ case for impeachment is crumbling.”
“THANK YOU to all my supporters,” Ms. Stefanik tweeted Friday morning. “I am deeply honored and overwhelmed by all of your support and will continue standing up for FACTS and -NY21.”
Ms. Stefanik’s Democratic opponent looking to take her seat in Congress, Tedra L. Cobb, responded on Twitter. “Stefanik is taking her partisan theatrics to Hannity tonight,” Ms. Cobb posted Thursday night. “But our district press knows who she really is. From the (Post Star) this AM, ‘Not only is she (Stefanik) not one of us. She never even tried to be.’”
Friday morning, President Donald Trump appeared on the show Fox and Friends to talk about Ms. Stefanik’s performance in the impeachment hearings.
“This young woman from upstate New York,” Mr. Trump said, “she has become a star.”
With Fox News appearances and worldwide trending hashtags, each candidate in New York’s 21st Congressional District is now receiving unprecedented amounts of attention and cash.
Friday afternoon the hashtag -ByeByeElise began to trend on Twitter, reaching No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 2 worldwide — the second social media push in a week to promote the campaign of Cobb, who previously had been little known nationally.
A statement from the Cobb campaign said the campaign has raised over $1 million from more than 60,000 individuals in all 50 states since last Friday, with an average donation of under $25.
By Monday, she had already gathered more money than she had in total in the 2018 election.
It is still unclear how either campaign plans to spend the large influx of cash. Cobb, on a campaign tour this week, was largely silent on how she will use her newfound funds. She told the Times she has “barely taken a breath” to consider what to spend it on.
“I will be frugal,” Cobb said. “I will be strategic and wise with everyone’s support.”
Stefanik was a hot topic for national news outlets last Friday, spurred by her active involvement with the impeachment inquiry hearings in the House Intelligence Committee. Now, a week later, she has received multiple compliments from the president for defending him in the hearings.
Democrats, vexed by Stefanik’s efforts to work against impeaching Trump last week, vented their frustrations by donating $1 million to Cobb over the course of three days. The hashtag -TrashyStefanik trended on Twitter, driven to popularity by George Conway, the husband of Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway. One of the witnesses before the Intelligence Committee Thursday even expressed sympathy for Stefanik being abused on Twitter.
Now the hashtag -ByeByeElise is trending even higher.
The hashtag has been used before by Democrats seeking to oust the sitting congresswoman, but it appears to have been rocketed into the wider Twitter consciousness by “The Ellen Show” Executive Producer Andy Lassner.
Lassner reacted to a Cobb tweet slightly before noon Friday, saying, “It seems to me that we can all do two things here. 1. Donate anything we can afford to @TedraCobb today. 2. Get the hashtag -ByeByeElise to trend.”
As the hashtag gained traction, even trending No. 3 in Canada, tens of thousands of posts used the phrase, some touting donations to Cobb, some insulting Stefanik and some completely unrelated to politics. There were many gifs of K-pop stars dancing, people promoting their own political projects, and confused “Sonic the Hedgehog” fans worried something happened to Princess Elise, a character in the video game.
The Adirondack Daily Enterprise contributed to this report.