Former speed skater launches bid for Stefanik seat

Bridie Farrell campaign

Former speed skater Bridie Farrell launched a bid for the House of Representatives on Wednesday, challenging New York Rep. Elise Stefanik (R) for her seat.

Farrell, a Democrat and former U.S. National speed skater, said she is running for Congress to “give back to the very communities that gave me so much while growing up, training, competing, and chasing my Olympic dreams in the 21st district.”

“I was taught that everyone’s opinion can be voiced and should be heard. When you do a job, you do it right. We need someone in Washington with North Country values instead of someone who is focused on her personal gain,” she added on her website.

Farrell was referencing Stefanik, the four-term congresswoman representing New York’s 21st Congressional District. Stefanik rose to prominence during former President Trump’s first impeachment trial in 2019, when she became one of his most vocal defenders.

Her power in the party grew even more in May, when she was voted by the House Republican Conference to replace Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as conference chair, the No. 3 Republican in the House, after Cheney was ousted for her repeated rejection of Trump’s false claims of election fraud.

Farrell’s campaign took a jab at Stefanik in her announcement video, including a clip of someone on MSNBC saying the sitting House member “sold herself out, she has sold her soul,” after Farrell said “I cannot be bought.”

Farrell has been vocal about her experience with sexual abuse, going public with allegations that she was abused when she was 15 years old by her mentor and teammate in the Olympic speed skating movement, who was 33 years old at the time.

That experience, her website says, “inspired her to speak up for crime victims.”

She has since founded a nonprofit, America Loves Kids, which works to support abuse survivors and work with policymakers to implement programs that provide for crime victims.

She also said she worked on the Child Victims Act in New York, which was enacted in 2019 to extend the statute of limitations for childhood sexual assault survivors, allowing them to come forward with allegations from age 23 to 55.

Her campaign website also says she worked with both Democrats and Republicans to pass similar laws in New Jersey and Arizona.

“I won’t buy people for political gain. I’ll never forget the people I’ve been elected to represent. I’m a survivor, and this is about all of us. We are survivors. We are strivers. We are dreamers. We are North Country, and we will not give up. We deserve a representative like all of us, who will show up for all of us, who will lead all of us,” Farrell said in her announcement video.

Stefanik’s campaign reacted to Farrell jumping into the race on Wednesday, labeling her a “far-left candidate.”

“The Stefanik campaign welcomes the third Far-Left candidate to enter the crowded Democrat primary in NY-21—all of whom support Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Andrew Cuomo and their radical, Socialist policies hurting North Country families,” Alex DeGrasse, senior adviser to Stefanik, said in a statement.

“Team Elise will continue to make sure voters know there is a clear choice between real results for the North Country and yet another Far-Left New York City Democrat who will rubber-stamp the reckless policies of Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Andrew Cuomo,” DeGrasse added.

The senior adviser also said Stefanik will “continue to successfully deliver real results to North Country small businesses, farms, seniors, veterans, and families.”

“North Country voters know that Elise has a record of always fighting to ensure her constituents have a voice and a seat at the highest levels of Congress – which is why she won the last election with the largest number of votes ever for a North Country congressional candidate,” she added.

Updated: 5:28 p.m.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Bridie Farrell Donald Trump Elise Stefanik Joe Biden Liz Cheney Nancy Pelosi new york congressional campaign
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