Democrat Matt Putorti challenges Stefanik for NY House seat

Democrat Matt Putorti challenges Stefanik for NY House seat
© Greg Nash

Democrat Matt Putorti on Monday announced he is challenging House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikStefanik calls Cheney 'Pelosi pawn' over Jan. 6 criticism GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger GOP's Banks burnishes brand with Pelosi veto MORE (R-N.Y.) in New York's 21st Congressional District. 

Putorti, an attorney, announced his bid in a video that touted his roots in Whitehall, N.Y.

"I describe Whitehall as a spaghetti dinner town," Putorti says in the clip. "If somebody loses a job or there's not enough health insurance to provide coverage for a life-threatening illness, the community will throw a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to help that person." 

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He called Stefanik "a threat to spaghetti dinner towns" and highlighted her stance questioning the validity of the 2020 presidential election results. 

Putorti also highlighted his identity as a gay man, saying it "gives a different perspective in leadership that is important." 

Putorti is the second Democrat to challenge Stefanik in the 21st district. Ezra Watson, a Wilton, N.Y.-based Democrat, filed his candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission in March. 

Stefanik's campaign responded to Putorti's campaign launch, calling him a "far-left socialist Democrat candidate." 

"Voters will immediately learn that New York City Far Left lawyer Matt Putorti supported and donated to radical Socialist Squad Members of Congress who support defunding the police, trillions in new taxes, open borders, and gun bans," Stefanik's senior adviser Alex Degrasse said in a statement to WWNYTV.

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Putorti faces an uphill climb against Stefanik in the district, which is Republican-leaning. Stefanik has held the seat since 2015 and defeated Democrat Tedra Cobb last year by roughly 18 points.

Additionally, Stefanik is a talented fundraiser. The New York congresswoman launched Elevate PAC in 2019 in an effort to boost the number of Republican women serving in Congress. After a dismal showing in the 2018 midterms, a record number of GOP women were elected to Congress in 2020. 

Stefanik gained further national recognition earlier this year when House Republicans voted to replace embattled Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyGosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Kinzinger supports Jan. 6 panel subpoenas for Republicans, including McCarthy Photos of the Week: Olympic sabre semi-finals, COVID-19 vigil and a loris MORE (R-Wyo.) with Stefanik as the party’s conference chair last month. Stefanik claimed victory after a 134-46 vote. The closed-door election occurred two days after the party voted to oust Cheney over her criticism of former President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE