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Anti-Trump group releases new ad targeting Stefanik

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North country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is facing more attacks in a new ad released Monday by the anti-Trump Lincoln Project.

In a 60-second video released on television and digital platforms Monday, the political action committee paints the congresswoman as a ruthless aspirationalist, intent on taking total leadership of the House Republicans by whatever means necessary.

“What’s the word to describe Elise Stefanik?” the ad asks. “Climber. Ruthless. A Harvard-educated schemer who never met a back she wouldn’t stab.”

Over video of the congresswoman in virtual and in-person hearings and right-wing media, as well as images of former President Donald Trump and the Capitol insurrectionists who attempted to stop the peaceful transfer of power on Jan. 6, 2021, the ad ties Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, with the Q-anon conspiracy and hateful white supremacist organizations.

“Elise has a plan,” the ad said. “Become the leader of the ‘ultra MAGA’ GOP, Q-anon, pedophiles, conspiracies, hate.”

The advertisement points out how Stefanik’s campaign continues to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from corporate donors like PricewatershouseCoopers, the Home Depot and the Altria Group.

“What does Stefanik do with corporate donations like these?” the ad asks. “She runs ads promoting the racist white replacement theory.”

The video cuts to images of Stefanik’s Facebook advertisements from September 2021, which purport that President Joseph Biden and Washington Democrats are trying to replace the American electorate with undocumented, “illegal” immigrants.

Frederick “Rick” Wilson, co-founder of the Lincoln Project and a former advertising agent for the Republican Party, said language like what the congresswoman used in those advertisements has a long history of emboldening hate.

“It uses the exact same rhetoric that appears in the manifestos of the Buffalo shooter, El Paso, New Zealand,” he said. “She has become part of the broad mosaic of messages that have equated immigration, in a time-worn and ugly tradition, that would have been familiar in Germany in the 1930s, and very familiar in eras of America where anti-immigrant sentiment and feeling was weaponized for political purposes.”

He criticized her for her recent position that the U.S. shouldn’t provide baby formula to the migrant detention centers along the southern U.S. border in the face of a national shortage as well.

Wilson said it’s well-known in Washington that Stefanik wants to take a more senior leadership position than she currently holds, and said she’s using the power of the ultra-right wing to make that happen.

“The evolution in the Republican Party is something she is reflecting, she understands how, in her quest to become speaker of the House, she understands that she has to play to the market base that will comprise the majority of the members of the House caucus, and she’s playing to that extreme edge” he said.

The Lincoln Project has taken a largely critical stance against the shift of the Republican Party to represent more right-wing ideals since the election of former President Trump in 2016, and Wilson said Stefanik represents that shift better than many other elected officials today.

“She absolutely knows better,” he said.

For her part, Stefanik has brushed off recent critiques of her position on undocumented immigrants. Last week, in the wake of the Buffalo Tops grocery store shooting that saw a white supremacist kill 10 Black people, many people began to point to similarities between the shooters “replacement theory” ideology and the congresswoman’s advertisements alleging that Democrats want to replace the American electorate with immigrants.

In a statement Monday, Stefanik’s senior adviser, Alex DeGrasse, said Stefanik is focused on responding to inflation, high energy prices and the recent uptick in crime rates. DeGrasse batted away the critiques of the Lincoln Project, referring to the pedophilia scandal involving Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver and a scandal involving Wilson, where he posted an image with a Confederate flag cooler bearing the message that “the South will rise again,” online.

Weaver has been removed from the Lincoln Project leadership and the group has criticized him for the inappropriate messages he exchanged with a teenage boy. Wilson has apologized for the Confederate flag post.

“Democrat candidates across the country plead that the vicious never-Trump Lincoln Project funded by Hollywood Leftists not get involved in their districts because they know the deranged far left radical group was founded by a Confederate sympathizer and known sexual predator who preyed on teenage boys,” DeGrasse said.

DeGrasse said voters in NY-21 will see the ad as lies and “filth,” and called the Lincoln Project group “pedo grifters,” a term Stefanik recently got attention for using on social media in reference to the Lincoln Project.

The advertisement will run on TV in Watertown, and digitally across northern New York, New York City, Washington, D.C. and Boston.


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