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Local Republicans consider possibility that Rep. Stefanik could join Trump ticket

New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik during a visit to Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley
/
WAMC
New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik during a visit to Plattsburgh

New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik will be on the campaign trail this weekend stumping for former President Donald Trump in New Hampshire. Some of her fellow Republicans in the 21st district are ambivalent about her growing prominence in the veepstakes.

Stefanik, in her fifth term, leads the House Republican conference. She will speak at a rally in Concord, New Hampshire this evening and then on Saturday morning will make remarks at a Team Trump New Hampshire event in Manchester ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

Elected as a young moderate voice in the party, Stefanik’s lurch to MAGA wing has inspired growing speculation that she is among Trump’s top picks for a running mate should he secure the nomination.

Clinton County Republican Party Chair Jerika Manning is excited to see it.

“Congresswoman Stefanik has done an excellent job in the 21st Congressional district of keeping a loyal base,” says Manning. “And I think that even though that has an advantage, I’m sure that there are hundreds of other possibilities and scenarios that President Trump would be considering and that the Congresswoman would be considering. I’m confident if Congresswoman Stefanik were to take a position in D.C. or a different position in the Cabinet that she would support and have a plan forward for the 21st Congressional District, if and when she makes that decision.”

Essex County Board of Supervisors Chair Shaun Gillilland called Stefanik “a stalwart advocate for the North Country” in an endorsement released in 2022 by Stefanik’s campaign. The Republican says Stefanik has not spoken to him about the speculation, but he thinks it’s within the realm of possibility.

“You know the only thing that we have been doing is just kind of speculating as to, if she does leave the seat in Congress, how and who would we get another representative.”

Town of Moriah Supervisor Matthew Brassard, a Republican, says the chatter could lead to positive press for the district.

“I don’t see how it could hurt this district,” says Brassard. “Maybe she could bring attention at a higher level to the North Country and the needs it needs. But I’m sure she’s on his short list. There’s no doubt she’s been a big supporter of his through everything. So I’m sure she is definitely on his short list of potential VP candidates.”

Gillilland says if Stefanik is on the ticket with Trump it would not have much direct impact on the 21st district.

As far as her becoming the vice president I don’t really see that that position could have much of an impact on us,” says Gillilland. “And of course if she became a member of the Cabinet or something, unless she was selected as Homeland Security or something like that, I think the interaction with the 21st District would be minimal at best.”

“So Shaun you are a Republican,” notes Bradley. “Would you be excited, do you want to see her as a vice presidential candidate?”

Gillilland chuckles, “ Um, I’m going to say no comment on that.”

“Do you support former President Trump?” asks Bradley.

“No,” replies Gillilland. “I think I’m in part of that 10 to 20 percent registered Republicans who are moderates.”

When asked if he wanted to see Stefanik on the ticket with Trump, Brassard was conflicted about the possibility.

“Honestly, I, I don’t know to tell you the truth, Says Brassard. “I’m not sold on ex-President Trump. There’s definitely some policy things that he did that I agree with 100 percent. But I think that, Republican Party-wise, I think there’s some better candidates out there this year I feel they probably can win the general election rather easy.”

Stefanik has said she would be honored to serve in a second Trump administration. She defended Trump during his impeachments and joined his efforts to oppose certification of the 2020 election in which President Biden defeated Trump.