Democrat Matt Putorti on Monday announced he is challenging House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikWyoming county GOP rejects effort to rescind Cheney's party status Stefanik in ad says Democrats want 'permanent election insurrection' GOP leader taking proxy voting fight to Supreme Court 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."
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.
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 CheneyEmboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes Jan. 6 committee taps former Bush administration official as top lawyer Wyoming county GOP rejects effort to rescind Cheney's party status 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 TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE.