Ad targets Stefanik over ‘replacement theory’

Published: May. 23, 2022 at 5:48 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A TV and digital ad that began running Monday targets north country congresswoman Elise Stefanik as ruthless, scheming, back-stabbing.

And that’s just the start.

The ad is the work of the anti-Trump “Lincoln Project.” It calls out Stefanik in harsh language, arguing she is trying to get to the top of Republican politics by becoming the leader of the hard right faction of the party, and doing so by advancing things like “white replacement theory,” which claims Democrats are trying to replace white Americans with minorities and illegal immigrants who will vote for them.

“She runs ads promoting the racist white replacement theory,” the ad charges.

“Buffalo paid in blood for the white replacement theory she promotes for power,” the narrator says, as scenes from the mass shooting there earlier this month play. The shooter in the Buffalo massacre has claimed replacement theory was a main motivation for what he did.

“If you’re going to let someone like an Elise Stefanik just act the way she wants to, that she’s going to be able to run ads espousing the idea of racial replacement theory in her district, that do have real world violent consequences if left unchecked, someone’s gotta stand up to that,” said Reed Galen, one of the founders of the Lincoln Project.

“Will it harm her in her race? I hope so. I hope that otherwise normal northern New Yorkers, upstaters, take a look at this and say this is not the kind of person we want representing us,” he told 7 News.

The ad calls out by name three of Stefanik’s corporate contributors, PricewaterhouseCooper, Home Depot and the Altria Group, who, the ad says “still flood Elise Stefanik with thousands of dollars.”

Galen told 7 News part of the reason for running the ads is to pressure corporations who donate to Stefanik.

“If companies like this are going to give to someone like an Elise Stefanik who has put ambition and power above all else, their customers should know what it is they stand for, and what they’re paying for,” he said.

Stefanik’s senior advisor Alex DeGrasse said in a statement “Every voter in her district knows this ad is the latest desperate filth and lies and that it will backfire just like every other deranged and vicious ad the Never Trump pedo grifters have run in our district and across America.”

“Pedo grifters” is a reference to John Weaver, a founder of the Lincoln Project, who was accused of sexually harassing nearly two dozen young men. Weaver left the group, and a spokesman for the Lincoln Project said Monday that when the Stefanik camp uses phrases like “pedo grifter” it “diminishes what victims of these horrible acts go through and should not be used as a political cudgel.”

“Congresswoman Stefanik remains focused on delivering real results to her constituents to address the crushing inflation, skyrocketing energy prices, and record crime in New York State.,” DeGrasse said in his statement.

The Washington Post reported Monday the Lincoln Project has budgeted $170,000 for running the ad.

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