By Emilie Munson: October 21, 2020
PLATTSBURGH — On Wednesday night, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik and her challenger Democrat Tedra Cobb faced off in their second debate of the campaign and the week, a heated contest in which Stefanik edged Cobb to the left and Cobb painted Stefanik as a name-caller and liar.
Cobb was pushed to take a position on expanding the Supreme Court Wednesday and said “maybe” she would back adding more justices, but she didn’t want to do that. That answer was a change from Monday when she told viewers that the U.S. House of Representatives would not vote on changing the make up of the court. It would require a vote of the full Congress.
Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, and Cobb also had a testy exchange over their positions on bail reform. Stefanik said she opposed New York’s bail reform law, which was revised in April 2019 to limit the number of crimes that judges could set bail for. Cobb said she opposed New York’s bail reform law, but in general she favors bail reform.
Stefanik immediately seized on this comment saying Cobb deleted her support for bail reform from her campaign website. Cobb shouted back “Elise it’s a website!”
In this exchange and others, the candidates had to be asked by the moderators from NBC5 to stop interrupting and speaking over one another.
At one point, Stefanik warned Cobb, “Don’t interrupt what I’m saying.” Cobb fired back “You just interrupted me Elise.”
The debate also honed in on the candidates’ views on the Second Amendment and guns. Although she was caught on camera in 2018 saying she privately backed an assault weapons ban but could not say so publicly, Cobb again said Wednesday that she no longer supports such a ban and she has listened to the district on the issue. But she began another sentence saying she supports “banning…”
Stefanik immediately cut Cobb off saying “banning, she said it herself, banning.” Cobb attempted to clarify, but Stefanik interrupted saying “She supports a gun ban. She can’t even help it and on this very stage.”
Cobb indicated she intended to say banning gun show loopholes that allow buyers to escape background checks.
The debate carried the same animosity as the candidates’ performance Monday.
“You will twist and turn the truth,” Cobb said. “You continue to name call… it’s not who we are.”
“Tedra, you run from your record,” Stefanik responded. “You can say that this is lies but it’s the truth.”
Stefanik was endorsed for re-election by President Donald Trump Wednesday.
Cobb was endorsed for the seat by former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday.
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