GOP congresswoman's impeachment stunt backfires as opponent raises over $1 million


Democratic candidate Tedra Cobb raised over $1 million in the three days following Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik's impeachment hearing theatrics.

On Sunday night, Democrat Tedra Cobb announced she raised over $1 million in just three days for her House race in upstate New York. Cobb raised the money after Rep. Elise Stefanik, the Republican holding the seat, pulled a disingenuous stunt at Friday's impeachment hearing, falsely claiming she was not allowed to speak because she is a Republican.

"I am overwhelmed by the amount of energy behind this campaign," Cobb said in a statement to the Times Union. "This incredible grassroots support will ensure we have the resources to make sure voters know the difference between me and Elise Stefanik."

Cobb's fundraising efforts were helped by several celebrities on Twitter, including both Mark Hamill of "Star Wars" fame and George Takei of "Star Trek." Conservative lawyer George Conway, spouse of White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, donated the legal maximum to Cobb's campaign, as did television and film star Zach Braff.

For comparison, Stefanik raised $450,000 in three months, July through September, an amount Cobb more than doubled in just three days.

The fundraising tsunami began after Stefanik interrupted the impeachment hearing with Amb. Marie Yovanovitch by trying to ask questions when she was not permitted to do so.

Under the House rules, the first 90 minutes of the hearing are evenly split between the chairperson of the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and the ranking member, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA). The rules state that only those members or their respective staff attorneys are permitted to ask questions, and members are allowed to ask questions afterward. Stefanik attempted to ask questions during that initial 90-minute period, and Schiff stopped her from doing so and reminded her of the rules.

Stefanik then falsely claimed on social media that Schiff "REFUSES to let duly elected Members of Congress ask questions to the witness, simply because we are Republicans."

Stefanik's antics were roundly criticized, with Jesse Lee, a top Pelosi aide, calling them a "pure, disingenuous stunt."

Later in the hearing, Stefanik was allowed to ask questions for five minutes, the same amount of time as other members of Congress, whether they are Democrats or Republicans.

The Times Union claims Stefanik's pro-Trump antics have "catapulted the race for her 21st Congressional District into the national limelight."

Cobb was a volunteer firefighter who started a community health agency before being elected to the state legislature. She lost to Stefanik in the 2018 midterms by 14 points, but the district does have a history of flipping back and forth between supporting Republicans and Democrats. In 2012, President Obama carried the district over Mitt Romney, whereas Trump carried the district in 2016. Stefanik was first elected to Congress in 2014.

Before this weekend's fundraising bonanza, Cobb had $500,000 in her campaign account, compared to Stefanik's $1.3 million, according to the Times Union.

The paper noted that Stefanik also made repeated requests for donations over the weekend, but has yet to publicly announce how much her campaign has raised.

The Stefanik campaign did not respond to a request for a fundraising update.

Published with permission of the American Independent Foundation.