Out lawyer challenges Trump loyalist in New York congressional race

New York attorney Matt Putorti. (Photo from Putorti’s Facebook)

WHITEHALL, N.Y. | A challenger to U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik, whose loyalty to former President Donald Trump elevated her to the number three leadership spot in the House Republican caucus, has emerged in next year’s midterm congressional races.

Matt Putorti, a Democrat and openly gay attorney announced his candidacy for the seat to represent New York’s 21st Congressional District in a campaign video from Whitehall, New York Monday.

He’s facing incumbent Republican Stefanik, who had been selected by House Republicans earlier this year to replace Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney in a divisive leadership fight over Cheney’s repeated criticism of former President Trump for questioning the results of the 2020 election.

Cheney told reporters that the Republican Party should return to fighting for conservative values and not be “dragged backward by the very dangerous lies of a former president.”

The Hill reported that Putorti is the second Democrat to challenge Stefanik in the 21st district. Ezra Watson, a Wilton, N.Y.-based Democrat, filed his candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission four months ago in March.

Putorti stressed he is a “gay man of faith,” the attorney is a practicing Catholic, and said in the video, “I do think that being gay gives a different perspective in leadership which is important.”

A spokesperson for Rep. Stefanik’s campaign organization reacted to the news of Putorti’s announcement in a statement;

“Congresswoman Elise Stefanik works hard every day to successfully deliver results to the hardworking families of the North Country especially our small businesses, manufacturers, farmers, seniors, veterans, and military families. She was just re-elected by the highest number of votes in the history of any North Country congressional candidate earning support from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. She will continue to fight every day to ensure the North Country has a seat at the highest levels of government to make our voices heard,” Stefanik senior advisor Alex Degrasse said.

“New York City lawyer Matt Putorti joins declared candidate Ezra Watson as the second radical Far-Left Socialist Democrat candidate who has announced,” he said. “The Stefanik campaign will continue to make sure voters know the choice next November between real results for the North Country versus another Far-Left Socialist who will be a rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and Andrew Cuomo’s failed policies. Voters will immediately learn that New York City Far Left lawyer Matt Putorti supported and donated to radical Socialist Squad Members of Congress who support defunding the police, trillions in new taxes, open borders, and gun bans.”

New York’s 21st Congressional District is a heavily Republican and conservative area where Stefanik is a formidable opponent, she has won four times by large to very large margins according to New York State elections data.

Putorti has already put together the team that will run his campaign, including Eric Hyers, described as managing winning races for current Democratic Governor of Kentucky Andy Beshear (2019), former Montana Democratic Governor Steve Bullock (MT, 2016), and former Democratic Governor of Rhode Island and current Biden Administration U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo (RI, 2014), as well as congressional campaigns for openly out Rhode Island U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (RI-01, 2012 and 2010).

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