Newest challengers for congressional seat include Jefferson County man

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 6:05 PM EDT
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CARTHAGE, New York (WWNY) - The race for Elise Stefanik’s seat in Congress is expanding. We met two of the newest candidates; one of them is a resident of Jefferson County.

Lonny Koons, originally from Michigan, now lives in Carthage. He will challenge Stefanik on the Republican line for the 21st Congressional District seat in next year’s mid-term elections.

“I’ve watched for the last three - four years that people have just blown up on social media. Everybody’s talking, but nobody’s doing anything,” he said.

And that’s why Koons decided to run. He calls himself an average man. He spent 20 years in the Army as a paratrooper and now drives trucks for a living.

“I say it all the time: I know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck determining what bill you will or won’t pay so you can put food on the table,” he said.

Koons lists all of his positions on his website, like supporting the Second Amendment and affordable universal healthcare, not something Republicans typically support.

“Do you want to be represented by someone who represents the party or do you want to be represented by someone who represents the people? If it benefits the north country, it gets my vote,” he said.

Koons says he knows he’ll have a massive uphill battle against Stefanik.

On the other side of the aisle, Ezra Watson of Wilton is running against Matt Putorti. Watson, a Democrat, works as a field service engineer. He’s focusing his campaign on universal healthcare and climate change. Watson says Stefanik has lost touch since rising in the party.

“She’s not following up on climate change. She used to be moderate. Everything she does is politically motivated,” said Watson.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Stefanik said, “She was just re-elected with the highest number of total votes ever for any congressional candidate in the north country. This support was earned not just from Republicans, but from Conservatives, Independents, and Democrats across the district winning all 12 counties.”

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