SARATOGA COUNTY — Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, went grocery shopping with her husband before attending local events on Saturday.
When they got back to their vehicle, they found a scrap of paper:
“Rot in Hell FASCIST PIG,” it said.
Stefanik took to Twitter to condemn what she called a “vile anonymous note.”
“It is truly sad that the radical Far-Left cannot see beyond their vicious hate,” Stefanik wrote.
Stefanik’s office said on Monday law enforcement has been notified and an investigation is ongoing.
“As an elected official, I understand that respectful & passionate policy disagreements are foundational to our democracy,” Stefanik wrote on Twitter. “But this note is just sad hatred. We are praying for the author.”
While the third-term lawmaker shot to national prominence following her role in last fall’s impeachment proceedings, rhetoric has been gradually intensifying in New York’s 21st Congressional District since President Donald Trump was elected in 2016.
Years of increasingly heated confrontations between progressive and conservative demonstrators outside of Stefanik’s Glens Falls office led the city to adopt legislation governing protests last month.
Stefanik called on her Democratic opponent, Tedra Cobb, to condemn the note.
Cobb called the discourse “damaging and wrong.”
“I think it’s time you joined me in pledging not to name call in this campaign,” Cobb said. “I’d love to work with you to set a better example for #NY21.”
Cobb appeared to be referring to the “Taxin’ Tedra” sobriquet, which the Stefanik team introduced the day after Cobb routed five challengers in the 2018 Democratic primary.
Stefanik responded: “This is not a condemnation. Here is my opponent equating ‘Taxin’ with ‘ROT IN HELL FASCIST PIG.’ One is a policy difference (you have voted numerous times to raise taxes) the other is a vicious, vile, sick attack. They are not the same and voters know it.”
The nickname refers to Cobb’s tenure as a legislator in St. Lawrence County. While Cobb did vote to raise taxes, many were bipartisan procedural votes, according to fact checks by several local media outlets.
Stefanik emerged from last fall’s impeachment hearings as one of the president’s most fervent supporters. Fueled by national surrogates, both candidates have raked in millions in campaign donations, and social media feeds of both candidates generate hundreds of messages, memes and often-profane content.
The note garnered national attention on Sunday, ping-ponging around the right-leaning media landscape and earning segments on Fox News and One America News.
Former Vermont governor and ex-Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean also entered the fray.
“I don’t condone this, but ‘as ye sow, so shall ye reap,’” Dean wrote in a since-deleted Tweet. “There is no excuse for the note writer or for you. You are a shame to your district and to a democratic United States.”
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called Dean’s remarks “shameful.”
“There is simply no justification for rhetoric like this,” McDaniel said.