A local Democrat called me to say Elise Stefanik should have gotten married in her own congressional district instead of a few miles outside of it in Saratoga Springs. Stefanik married Matthew Manda on Saturday at the Hall of Springs.
I'm inclined to give her a break, feeling that this is her private life and people have a right to get married where they please. But I agree with him that the symbolism is bad and getting the symbolism right is a big part of what good politicians do.
But Stefanik is lousy at getting the symbolism right, in general, starting with her dubious claim, when she first ran for office, that she was a resident of the district. Interestingly, the New York Times wedding announcement listed her parents as residents of Feura Bush, which is southwest of Albany, and their business as located in Guilderland Center, south of Schenectady. What happened to the ties to the district?
Stefanik's Democratic opponent in that first race, Aaron Woolf, was asserting an equally dubious case for residency, however, and it seemed that not too many people cared, in either case.
Worse than not living in the district has been her tendency to duck any public interaction that may involve any sort of confrontation or tough questioning. She's not someone who enjoys or is good at getting up before a skeptical crowd and defending her positions. Rather than make a tough case, she will avoid the subject, or cling like a barnacle to a one- or two-sentence talking point.
The wedding seems more like a lost opportunity to me. It's not that it's so bad she chose to spend her money outside her district, but that spending it in the district was an easy way to get good publicity that she passed up.