A Republican “rising star” has succeeded in converting her newfound notoriety into campaign dollars.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who attracted widespread attention for defending President Trump against Adam Schiff’s impeachment ambush, raised $3.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, the Washington Examiner reported. She outraised Schiff and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), both prominent House Democrats, by nearly a million dollars apiece.
Stefanik crushes Schiff in fundraising
Schiff raised $2.5 million in the fourth quarter, while Ocasio-Cortez garnered $1.9 million, the New York Post reported. The gap is considerable, given that Stefanik only recently rose to national prominence.
The Republican lawmaker from upstate New York was dubbed a “rising star” by Donald Trump for her performance in the House phase of the impeachment inquiry last year, in which she frequently clashed with Schiff and grilled witnesses summoned by the California Democrat. Schiff is arguably among the most recognizable and controversial lawmakers in the House, thanks to his history of spreading false Russian collusion claims and his prominent role in the impeachment ofTrump.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2019
Trump and his Republican allies have repeatedly lambasted Schiff for his handling of the impeachment process, particularly for lying about his contact with the Ukraine whistleblower and for denying the president fundamental due process in the House. Republicans have higlighted Schiff’s role to attack the entire proceeding as a partisan effort to remove Trump from power by any means necessary.
“An outrageous abuse of power by Adam Schiff. And an absolute waste of the country’s time and taxpayer dollars. It is time to move on and get back to the People’s work,” Stefanik tweeted recently.
National interest in re-election battle
Stefanik’s fight with Schiff turned her re-election fight into a nationwide contest, with both Stefanik and her Democratic rival, Tedra Cobb, benefiting from a heavy stream of donor cash, the New York Post reported. Cobb has raised $2 million and has $2.2 million in cash on hand, while Stefanik, who beat Cobb in 2018 to win her third term, has $3.4 million on hand as of the end of 2019.
“Every day of the week, I choose the North Country and America over the far-left Hollywood liberals like Rosie O’Donnell and Chelsea Handler who are funding my opponent. This record-breaking support is indicative of the countless bipartisan results I’ve delivered for the hardworking families in my district,” Stefanik said in a statement.
Stefanik was also among those Republicans picked to advise Trump’s legal team during the impeachment trial, where Schiff has been leading the case against the president. Others included well-known Trump allies like Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and Jim Jordan (R-OH).
Trump sailing to acquittal
Schiff has expressed no remorse over the way he and his fellow Democrats handled the impeachment, as Trump stands poised for an acquittal in a Wednesday vote. Republicans lambasted Schiff for failing to subpoena John Bolton, whose testimony Democrats failed to secure after a last push for witnesses failed.
“Look, there’s nothing that I can see that we could have done differently because as the senators have already admitted, we proved our case. We proved our case,” Schiff told CBS on Sunday.
Republicans put Trump on a path to victory after rejecting additional witnesses in a vote Friday, with Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) specifically citing the “rushed” nature of Schiff’s inquiry in her decision. Democrats have vowed to deny Trump any sort of vindication, insisting that the trial has been a sham because there were “no witnesses,” despite the fact that the House heard testimony from 17 individuals during the first phase of the process.