Essex County supervisors favor Stefanik

ELIZABETHTOWN – If the Essex County Board of Supervisors were to vote on the New York 21st Congressional District candidates today, Elise Stefanik of Willsboro would gain the board’s approval.

Stefanik captured a majority of the supervisors’ endorsements, 14 out of 18, on Tuesday.

Also running are Republican Matt Doheny of Watertown, Democrat candidate Aaron Woolf, of Elizabethtown and Manhattan, and Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello of Glens Falls.

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of these members on the Essex County Board of Supervisors,” Stefanik wrote in a press release. “As current elected officials in Essex County, I am incredibly humbled in their support of my candidacy.”

The 29-year-old candidate and former staffer to President George W. Bush met with many of the supervisors last week in Elizabethtown, where she laid out her political opinions.

“We had a lunch,” Supervisor Randy Preston of Wilmington said. “She gave a very nice speech in regards to the federal government and the local level. I thought she gave a very positive presentation.”

Preston, an independent, said he does not vote based on party affiliation. He previously supported Stefanik’s Republican opponent Doheny, a three time Congressional candidate who lost in close elections against the retiring Democratic Rep. Bill Owens of Plattsburgh.

Stefanik is also the choice of the 12 county chairs in the district. Doheny, a businessman, joined the race after the chairs’ decision was made and after Owens announced he wouldn’t seek re-election.

North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi, a Republican, had previously been undecided when asked by the Enterprise who he would support. That changed after he had several phone interviews with Stefanik.

“I’m not a tremendous advocate for Congress,” Politi said. “I’m the one person who doesn’t rah-rah a congressman, but of those candidates, she is the most professional and reliable.”

Politi said Stefanik seemed like a “nice person” to him and said that is important.

“I could never endorse the others,” he said.

Republican Supervisor Shaun Gillilland of Willsboro had previously been a Doheny supporter.

“I know Matt Doheny and supported him the last couple of elections,” Gillilland said. “He was asked several times if he was going to run against Bill Owens before he retired, and he refused. Even after Owens said he wasn’t going to run again, he refused. Elise Stefanik has been out there for a year running.”

Stefanik currently considers Willsboro her full-time residence after moving there in 2013 to campaign. She lives in the family’s summer home in Willsboro, which the family has owned since she was a child. She is also a partial owner of a Washington, D.C. townhouse worth over $1 million.

“She’s extremely bright and hard working and driven,” Gillilland said. “I met her a year ago when she was just gearing up (for the race).”

Stefanik also helped him campaign, Gillilland said.

Doheny released his first TV advertisement of the campaign on Tuesday, with his wife and baby son featured in it. The ad focuses on the national debt.

“The future of our son, and all kids in the North Country, means more to us than anything,” Doheny said in the ad. “I want to fight to make sure it’s full of opportunity – not debt.”

The other supervisors who endorsed Stefanik besides Gillilland, Politi and Preston include Charles Harrington of Crown Point, Noel Merrihew of Elizabethtown, Edward Gardner of Essex, William Ferebee of Keene, David Blades of Lewis; Thomas Scozzafava of Moriah, George Canon of Newcomb, Ronald Moore of North Hudson, Michael Marnell of Schroon, Charles Whitson of St. Armand and William Grinnell of Ticonderoga.

Democrat supervisors have not endorsed a candidate yet, according to board chairman and Democrat Randy Douglas. The other Democrats on the board are Gerald Morrow of Keeseville and Daniel Connell of Westport.