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Two weeks from now, Rep. Elise Stefanik will know who her Democratic opponent will be in the 21st Congressional District.

She has a million reasons — the amount of dollars she has raised for her campaign — not to be worried.

She also has nearly two terms of experience, regularly been showcased as a Republican leader of the future, served on two high-profile congressional committees — Armed Services and Intelligence — and won her last election in a landslide with 65.3 percent of the vote — more than twice her Democratic rival, Mike Derrick.

It makes you wonder why so many people are interested in running against her.

I’ve lost track, but at one point there were eight or nine.

On Monday night, the five Democrats still in the race appeared at a League of Women’s Voters candidate forum in Saratoga Springs.

Here’s my take: Any of the five Democrats are more formidable than either Derrick or Aaron Wolfe, who lost to Stefanik in 2014.

Tedra Cobb, Emily Martz, Patrick Nelson, Dylan Ratigan and Katie Wilson all bring passion, life experience, knowledge and what appears to be a burning desire to be part of a solution to what is wrong with the country.

It’s hard to tell for sure, but they all seem to despise Rep. Stefanik equally. On Monday night, they were most passionate when they were talking about Stefanik.

Katie Wilson pointed out the five of them combined might make the perfect candidate.

That’s what so unusual to me.

There are five of them, all wanting to make a difference and all motivated to get involved in what seems an impossible task — unseating Stefanik.

Congressional primaries are rare these days, and one with five qualified contenders is unprecedented.

While our neck of the woods has always been considered Republican, recent electoral history shows voters have flirted with Democrats as well.

Exhibit A is Bill Owens of Plattsburgh, who Rep. Stefanik succeeded.

Exhibits B and C were Scott Murphy and Kirsten Gillibrand.

According to — an online encyclopedia that crunches voting records — five counties in the 21st Congressional District voted Republican in each of the past three presidential elections while one (Clinton) voted Democratic.

But six of the counties, including Warren, Washington, Essex and Saratoga, are what they call “pivot” counties. They each voted for President Obama twice, but voted for President Trump in 2016.

The Cook Partisan Voter Index ranks the 21st Congressional District as the 209th most Republican congressional district nationally. It means that in the past two presidential elections, the district’s results were 4 percentage points more Republican than the national average. That does not sound insurmountable for Democrats.

At the end of Monday’s forum, each candidate was asked if they would support the winner of the Democratic primary in the general election.

All five said they would.

On Tuesday, Emily Martz announced that her campaign was going through with an election night unity event to wrap up the Democratic primary at The Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls.

It appears that voters will have at least two strong choices in November.

It’s good to have a choice.

Ken Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at You can read his blog “The Front Page” daily at or his updates on Twitter at

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Ken Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at His blog “The Front Page” discusses issues about newspapers and journalism. You can also follow him on Twitter at



Ken Tingley is Editor of The Post-Star in Glens Falls, N.Y. and writes a regular blog called "The Front Page."

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