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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Sep 10, 2022 2:00 am

Here is this week's WGXC Congressional Report, tracking the votes, statements, positions, and campaigns of the representatives and candidates for the 19th, 20th, and 21st Congressional seats in New York. Current Democrat Rep. Paul Tonko, from the 20th District, votes with the positions of President Joe Biden 100 percent of the time, according to the fivethirtyeight.com website. Republican Elise Stefanik, currently representing the 21st District, votes with Biden's positions 19.3 percent of the time. Democrat Pat Ryan, who now represents the 19th District, has yet to cast a vote. Click here to listen to this report.

Rick Karlin reports in the Times Union that hunting groups are criticizing Rep. Elise Stefanik for a bill she's co-sponsoring that would repeal a decades-old excise tax on firearms. The gun tax funds wildlife conservation and other environmental protections. “There wasn’t any consultation with sportsmen’s or sportswomen’s groups,” said Kaden McArthur, the government relations representative for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. The bill is more political theatre, than reality right now, as Democratic majorities in Congress are unlikely to pass the measure. Shortly after Democratic Rep. Don Byers of Virginia introduced a bill to impose a 1,000 percent excise tax on assault-style weapons earlier this year, Republicans introduced the Repealing Excise Tax on Unalienable Rights Now, act. “I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation to eliminate this harmful tax that infringes on Americans’ ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Stefanik said. “Make no mistake, I will not allow the government to tax the constitutional right of hardworking Americans by marking up the price to exercise one’s Second Amendment rights.” The tax dates back to 1937, and generates $18 million annually for New York state and more than $400 million since 1939 for a range of wildlife habitat protection and restoration efforts as well as hunter safety programs. The Howl for Wildlife group, the National Wildlife Federation, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Sportsmen’s Alliance are among the group's in opposition to Stefanik on the issue. Stefanik represents the 21st Congressional District that will include Rensselaer County beginning next year. Read the full story in the Times Union.

The Fivethirtyeight.com website looks at which politicians on the ballot this fall are falsely denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election. In New York, the candidate for governor and several Congressional candidates in the Hudson Valley are on the list. There has been no proof that there was fraud in the 2020 presidential election. The website says the Republican Lee Zeldin, who is running for governor, "accepted with reservations" the results of the 2020 election, even though he voted not to accept the results of the election hours after the attempted coup on Jan. 6, 2021. Michael Henry, a Republican running for Attorney General, is listed as having "no comment" on the issue. Joe Pinion, the Republican challenging incumbent Democrat Chuck Schumer for a U.S. Senate seat, is listed as "fully accepted" the election results. Republicans Liz Joy and Elise Stefanik, though, are listed as having "fully denied" the election results. Joy, who is running against incumbent Democrat Paul Tonko in the 20th Congressional District, attended the rally at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Stefanik, the incumbent in the 21st District, is one of former President Donald Trump's biggest backers, and voted against certifying the election results on the night of Jan. 6, 2021. The website says that Colin Schmitt, the Republican candidate in the 18th Congressional District has "avoided answering" the question. And the website says Marc Molinaro, running in the 19th Congressional District, has had "no comment" on who is legally the president of the country. Go to fivethirtyeight.com for more information.

The Common Cause website is tracking Congress members votes on democracy-related legislation at the Democracy Scorecard. Democrat Rep. Paul Tonko, of the 20th Congressional District, gets the best score locally. Tonko voted for all 18 democracy-related legislation tracked here, and co-sponsored four of the bills. Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican from the 21st Congressional District, only voted for one of the 18 bills tracked, the Courthouse Ethics and Transparency Act. Democrat Rep. Sean Maloney, currently representing the 18th Congressional District, got a 16 out of 18 score, while there is no score for the 19th Congressional District after Democrat Antonio Delgado resigned and recently-elected fill-in Pat Ryan has yet to cast a vote. "Common Cause does not endorse or oppose candidates; we simply provide constituents the facts about how your delegation voted, so you and the people you share this nonpartisan tool can make an informed and comprehensive evaluation of your legislators’ performance," the website says. See the Democracy Scorecard for more information.

Chris McKenna reports in the Times Herald-Record the Republican Congressional candidate Marc Molinaro's campaign manager is calling his candidate's loss in a special election to Pat Ryan rigged. Molinaro's campaign manager, Will Dawson, wrote in an e-mail that, “The redistricting fiasco allowed Pat Ryan and Kathy Hochul to rig the election with two Democrat primary elections on the same day as the general and then lied about Marc’s position on abortion and we still almost won." Saying that the election was rigged is similar to the lies about the 2020 presidential election told by former President Donald Trump. The date for the New York special election to fill Democrat Antonio Delgado's seat after he resigned to become lieutenant governor was largely chosen by law: it had to be set within ten days of the resignation and had to be held within three months of the resignation. Dawson's complaint that the special election was held on the same day as other primary elections seems strange, as holding the elections on different days would have doubled the cost to taxpayers, and clearly would have lowered turn out. Ryan responded to the baseless charge, saying that "to use that language of 'rigged' echoes really dangerous rhetoric trumpeted by our former president. It is beneath the dignity of the office we both were seeking." Read more about this story in the Times Herald-Record.

Rebecca C. Lewis reports for City and State that there have not been any public polls released so far to tell who might be favored in the 19th Congressional District election between Democrat Josh Riley and Republican Marc Molinaro. The Riley campaign, though, released the results of an internal poll conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group on Sept. 9 that claims their candidate is leading. Internal polls usually favor the candidate paying for them, and in this poll Riley leads with the backing of 47 percent of likely voters, with 44 percent backing Molinaro. The poll has a five percent margin of error, and is paid for by the Riley campaign. Molinaro will likely release internal poll results soon with the opposite results. This poll surveyed voters on landlines and cell phones between August 29 and September 1. Read the full story at City and State.

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