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The Lincoln Project targets ‘sad Trump apologist’ Rep. Elise Stefanik in 2022 election


A Republican-led group that actively campaigned against President Donald Trump in the 2020 election is now targeting Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville.

The Lincoln Project has released several ads criticizing the Congresswoman from Upstate New York, including a new one Friday that asks: “What happened, Elise?” The super PAC describes her as a “compassionate conservative who was the youngest woman elected to Congress” and had “such a bright future.”

“Now she’s just another sad Trump apologist,” the video says. ”When Trump demeans and attacks women, she goes along smiling. When Trump encourages racists, she is silent. What happened?”

The ad also compares Stefanik, who represents New York’s 21st District in the North Country, to two new members of Congress who’ve faced criticism for supporting QAnon conspiracy theories: “If Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert went to Harvard… they’d be Elise Stefanik.”

The Lincoln Project is a political action committee formed in 2019 by a group of Republicans and former Republicans, largely focused on defeating Trump in his re-election bid. Trump lost by more than 7 million votes and President Joe Biden won the Electoral College, 306 to 232.

Co-founder Reed Galen told WWNY-TV that the Lincoln Project is next aiming to defeat Stefanik when her House seat is up for grabs in the 2022 midterms.

“If there’s been anybody who’s been a bigger disappointment to so many people who call themselves moderate, establishment, normal Republicans, former Republicans, in the United States congress today, I would have to say that it’s Congresswoman Stefanik,” Galen said. “We should understand that it was never about conviction. It was always about ambition.”

In another video released earlier this week, The Lincoln Project accused Stefanik of condoning and supporting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol that led to five deaths and more than 50 police officers injured. Stefanik condemned the violence, but still objected to the Electoral College results when Congress resumed certifying the vote after the insurrection.

Stefanik’s senior advisor Alex DeGrasse accused the Lincoln Project of being “FAKE Republicans who have gone off the rails due to their Trump Derangement Syndrome” in a fundraising email to her supporters.

“Their attack ad is FALSE and SHAMEFUL,” DeGrasse wrote Tuesday. “We must fight back against these liberals masquerading as disaffected conservatives.”

In a statement to syracuse.com, DeGrasse also criticized The Lincoln Project: “The Lincoln Project is currently implicated in a massive sexual abuse and harassment scandal. One co-founder is a serial sexual abuser and a paid Russian agent, and the other co-founder is a known Confederate sympathizer. Democrats, Never Trumpers, and scam PAC organizations like The Lincoln Project spent nearly $7 million trying to beat Congresswoman Stefanik. And North Country voters stunningly rebuked these desperate Never Trump organizations by re-electing Elise with the highest number of votes of any Congressional candidate in the history of the North Country.”

According to WWNY, DeGrasse’s comments on sexual harassment and Russia apparently refer to co-founder John Weaver, who left the Lincoln Project last summer. The reference to the confederacy is based on a beverage cooler that allegedly belonged to another of the group’s co-founders, and featured the Confederate flag and the phrase “The south will rise again.”

Stefanik, 36, was elected to Congress for a fourth term in November after beating Democratic challenger Tedra Cobb. She previously gained national attention as an ally for Trump, defending him during the impeachment hearings and landing a speaking spot at the Republican National Convention.

The Hill reports The Lincoln Project is also focusing its efforts against Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who led the GOP effort to object to the Electoral College results and a possible contender for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election. There are also rumors Trump could lead a new political party, The Patriot Party, in an attempt to return to the White House himself.

Note: This story has been updated with a statement from Stefanik’s senior advisor, Alex DeGrasse.

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