Multiple candidates come forward to challenge Stefanik in NY-21

Posted 3/3/24

A Republican, two Democrats and a write-in candidate on the Working Families Party line have declared their candidacy for the Congressional seat currently held by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Multiple candidates come forward to challenge Stefanik in NY-21


A Republican, two Democrats and a write-in candidate on the Working Families Party line have declared their candidacy for the Congressional seat currently held by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, possibly setting up two primaries in NY-21.

Stefanik, who was first elected to her seat in 2014, is running for her sixth term to represent the North Country in the House of Representatives.

Lochner sets up primary with Stefanik

Republican Jill Lochner recently launched her campaign to challenge Stefanik, saying the U.S. political culture "has broken meaningful ways" on her campaign page.

"I have witnessed our leadership lose their moral compass to their own political ambitions and partisanship.  As a lifelong Republican, it’s painfully clear our party needs to correct the course not only for the best of our great democracy but for our Nation," she said.

Lochner said he has "always been a true Republican" who believes in fiscal responsibility, limited government, upholding constitutional liberties, equal rights for all and conserving "America the Beautiful."

"I am running for Congress because I can no longer sit back and accept the conspiracy theories, bigotry, and hateful ideologies that dominate the news. This is not what the people want. This is not what America is," she said.

Lochner says she is not a politician but rather a wife, mother, daughter and New Yorker.

"I want a future for our children, for our country, and for our Republican party. I can represent you because I am one of you," she said.

Lochner was born and raised in Central New York to parents who owned and operated a fishing guide service, bed and breakfast and tackle shop.

She attended Nazareth College in Rochester where she earned a Master's degree in Educational Technology and is New York State certified in Elementary and Special Education.

Following her education, Lochner said she moved to New York City and "began a career helping the government to better serve people."

"Throughout my life, whether I was in Central NY, Western NY, or downstate, I always found myself traveling to the North Country on weekends. Eleven years ago, when it was time to start a family, we returned home to the beautiful landscapes, values, and people of upstate. Through our own hard work and sacrifice, my husband and I built our homestead in the foothills of the Adirondacks," she said.

Lochner said she wants to show fiscal responsibility through necessary budget reforms "to revive our economy and put us on a path to growth."

According to Lochner, she also supports responsible firearm ownership.

"The Second Amendment is not second class, it is a safeguard created by our founders to protect all other rights. Along with the majority of Americans, of gun owners, and of NRA members, I support a fast, efficient, and accurate universal background system to keep guns away from people with mental health issues. As a defender of the 2nd amendment, I would also legislate safeguards such as expedited redress and prohibitions against registries," she said.

Lochener said she is also in favor of women being afforded the opportunity to make reproductive choices themselves.

"The government should stay out of our bodies and out of our homes. Decisions should be made between a woman and her doctor," she said.

For more information, visit www.jillforcongress.com/

Democratic cannabis tax lawyer announces bid

Paula Collins, a cannabis tax attorney, owns property in Rensselaer County and is running to represent those that she feels have been forgotten.

"Our current Representative has lost her way. She has aligned herself with the former president in his defense of the January 6 protestors. But what about the people back at home in our district, hard at work in their day-to-lives," she said.

Collins recently announced her bid for the seat to represent NY-21 in front of Elevate ADK in Saranac Lake.

Collins lives and works in Manhattan and recently purchased property in the district, according to reports.

A self-described "moderate center" Democrat, Collins says she wants to support "small business owners, and clerks, the teachers, the country lawyers, and, most especially, the farmers feel left out by the candidates on the far left."

Collins said sensible immigration policies to ensure public safety are necessary, along with new policies to ensure children are safe while using the internet.

"They need to know that Congress is passing legislation to protect the environment, and the land, air, water, and animal rights in it. They need to get a sensible Farm Bill passed – and fast! They need to know that when they get sick, there are doctors and hospitals close, with affordable options in healthcare," she said.

Collins said her decision to run is not just about the Jan. 6 insurrection of the Capitol but rather about "other life issues."

"My opponent in this race was first elected in the year 2014. And what has she done to help the people of District 21? It seems like lately all she has done is cozy up to the former President – you know – the one who is under multiple indictments in multiple states. Sure, she put on a fine performance when she questioned university presidents. But as someone who has aligned herself with the most hate-spewing president in history, who is she really to call out incendiary hate speech," Collins said.

Collins was further critical of Stefanik's ties to former President Donald Trump, saying she has moved further to the right.

"Elise Stefanik has had her chance in the job as your Congressional Representative, and all she did was move further to the MAGA right than any of us ever imagined," she said.

Former Lt. Colonel jumps in

A retired officer from the U.S. Army, Lt. Colonel Steven Holden was born and raised in Oklahoma where he also attended Oklahoma A&M. After receiving a degree in Criminal Justice, Holden said he attended the University of Central Oklahoma and received a degree in Political Science.

He continued his education at Syracuse University on a dual master's program in business administration and public administration while commissioned with the Army.

Holden said he was also deployed in 2003 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and "was involved in the capture of Saddam Hussein with 4th Infantry Division."

"In 2005, I was sent on a second deployment to Iraq with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment Commanded by LTG(R) H.R. McMaster. I was deployed twice to Afghanistan in 2010 and again in 2013 with the 4th Infantry Division. During my final deployment in Afghanistan I served as a Senior Consultant to the Afghan Air Force helping more than 100 Afghan interpreters and their families find refuge in the United States," he said.

"I believe, with my education, service and professional experience, that I can deliver results to the District," Holden said.

Holden listed a number of issues he is passionate about, including "veteran’s affairs, infrastructure, farming, including family farms, jobs, unions, gun violence, reproductive freedom, equality, and equity, voting rights and access, mental health, inflation, and housing."

"As a legislator, it is my job to listen to your perspectives and find solutions that work for the greater good. I want to know what your concerns are and how you think I can best help you, your family, and your community," he said.

Foul mouthed problem solver joins on Working Families line

Brian Rouleau, a self-described "foul mouthed problem solver," is running on the Working Families Party line in an effort to bring a new voice to the race and not "another boring, centrist Democrat."

Working as the Finance and Insurance Manager at Frenchie's Ford in Massena, Rouleau is the only St. Lawrence County based candidate in the race currently.

Rouleau said he is of the opinion that Democrats are conceding the election, saying the "low man wins in this leverage fight and I will use every legal means to remove the cancer that is Elise Stefanik from Congress."

"When it comes down to it, you either can elect a politician with pretty words and meaningless promises, or you can elect a foul mouthed problem solver who doesn't have time for the bullshit of this district being ignored," he said.