Experts: Stefanik is a moderate trending right

Updated: Oct. 18, 2020 at 6:02 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWNY) - Those who track and grade lawmakers on a scale from left to right concede it’s an inexact science.


“You can generally tell who’s conservative or not,” said Noah Weinrich.

Noah Weinrich works at Heritage Action. The conservative lobby group scores lawmakers based on the bills they back and the votes they take.

“If they consistently vote conservatively, they’ll have a high score,” said Weinrich. "Typically, folks scores stay pretty similar from term to term.

Right now, Rep. Elise Stefanik is getting a 60. A grade well above her previous scores, but still well below the current Republican average.

Other organizations use different formulas, but reach similar conclusions, painting Stefanik as a moderate trending toward the middle of the Republican party.

“What’s so interesting is her combination of bipartisan and partisan,” said University of Albany Professor Sally Friedman.

Political Science Prof. Sally Friedman says Stefanik remains focused on New York’s North Country, from fighting for soldiers at Fort Drum to securing funding for hospitals.

But as she rose the ranks within Congress, Stefanik began sprinkling in more national talking points and took on roles steering her party’s future.

“The interesting thing to me is she didn’t jump on the Trump bandwagon in 2016, ’17,” said Friedman.

Four years ago, Stefanik offered only lukewarm support of then-candidate Donald Trump.

He would go on to overwhelming carry her district, and since, she has downplayed their policy differences and won his praise defending him from impeachment.

“I’ve been able to deliver results working with this president,” said Stefanik,"The media has not done enough to focus on how bipartisan he has been."

North Country voters will decide whether to send Stefanik back to Congress for a fourth term on Election Day Nov. 3rd.

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