Elise Stefanik, a young small businesswoman and former Bush administration aide, announced today in a YouTube video that she's running for the U.S. House in New York's 21st congressional district:
Roll Call reports that the race should be competitive:
On paper, the 21st District should be competitive. Last year, [Democratic incumbent] Owens won re-election by 2 points by defeating Matt Doheny. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama won the district with just 52 percent, and Republicans argue Owens will be more vulnerable without the robust Democratic turnout that comes with a presidential election in the Empire State.
But the district has proved problematic for the GOP in the past. In 2009, the party lost a bruising special election there when the conservative party’s candidate posed a serious challenge to the Republican nominee, Dede Scozzafava. Days before the special election, Scozzafava dropped out and endorsed Owens, who won the seat.
This cycle, there’s at least one other Republican in the race so far aside from Stefanik. Joe Gilbert, the St. Lawrence County Emergency Services director and founder of a local tea party organization, told a local newspaper on Sunday that he’s running.
Stefanik’s candidacy comes as the GOP struggles to appeal to young, female voters across the country. The party has renewed its push to recruit female candidates for 2014 and beyond. Stefanik confirmed she met with the National Republican Congressional Committee in December.
“I hope to be part of the new generation of people stepping up to the plate,” she said in a phone interview last week. “I also think we need more women, in the Republican Party and in Congress in general.”