Last January, Patrick Nelson became the first Democrat to enter the race against newly-reelected incumbent Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, a Republican from New York’s 21st district. It’s become a crowded primary field since then, spurred by discontent over Congress’ health care deliberations. Nelson says health care remains the key issue across the district.
“I think health care got thrown into the forefront early in this campaign with that vote for the disastrous package that Elise Stefanik supported, Congresswoman Stefanik supported, in the House. And that really galvanized a lot of people because it’s very threatening personally, right, because we’re talking about one of the very intimate areas where when we’re interfacing with the health care system it’s usually not on our best day. You know with the exception of maybe a child being born we’re there because something is frightening us. And when you’re compounding that with am I even going to be able to see a doctor if something comes along I think that has really lit a fire under a lot of people, me personally and a lot people we’ve talked to. So that’s still at the forefront. And it is kind of an all encompassing issue because it also impacts the ability to grow jobs. You know if you’re unsure about your health care future you might stay in a job where you might otherwise leave and start a business or what have you because of the health insurance plan that you’re under. So it’s an issue of economic development at the same time as it’s an issue of health care. So that’s been a real fundamental issue in this campaign. The other ones are jobs.”
During a visit to Plattsburgh in August, incumbent Republican Elise Stefanik said regardless of the number of challengers she is focused on her job and delivering results to the district. "I feel confident but I’m going to focus on doing my job because that’s why they voted for me because they know I’m energetic, I’m hard working and I’m common sense and independent-minded and an effective voice for this district in Washington.”
The other six candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in the 21st House district are Emily Martz of Saranac Lake, Don Boyajian of Saratoga County, Ronald Kim of Queensbury and Saratoga Springs, Tedra Cobb of Potsdam, Katie Wilson of Keene, and Tanya Boone from Granville. Republican Russell Finley of Lisbon in St. Lawrence County is looking to force a primary.