This is a story which started back in July but is heating up once again in the final week before the midterms. As you may recall, Tedra Cobb is the Democratic candidate hoping to unseat Republican Elise Stefanik in New York’s 21st congressional district. It’s a fairly conservative, upstate region with a long history of Second Amendment support. Unfortunately for Cobb, someone caught her on camera telling her supporters that she would support an “assault weapons” ban if she made it to Washington, but couldn’t say so publicly because it would cost her the election.
That led to some chaos in her campaign, including the loss of at least one key staffer. Still, Cobb soldiered on in the race, this week receiving the endorsement of the Albany Times, to the surprise of nobody. (That’s a cached copy of the original endorsement at the link.) There was just one problem, however. As the Free Beacon revealed, the endorsement included glowing praise for Cobb’s support of an assault weapons ban which sent the campaign scrambling for cover.
In its Monday endorsement, the Times Union promoted Cobb’s apparent support of a ban as part of the reason for endorsing her.
“On gun rights, she favors universal background checks, including on gun show sales and private transactions, enacting ‘red flag’ laws that would allow courts to take guns away from people exhibiting dangerous behavior, and reimposing an assault weapons ban while addressing criticisms about inconsistencies and loopholes in the last one,” the paper originally wrote, according to a cached copy of the editorial.
The campaign disavowed the endorsement’s description of Cobb’s position on an assault weapons ban.
So Cobb had to disavow the endorsement she received from one of the largest papers in the region. When asked for an explanation, her campaign spokesperson said that Cobb, “did not explicitly say she supported an assault weapons ban.” (Emphasis added) This answer rings hollow since there’s a video out there of her explicitly supporting it. The pushback forced the Times-Union to go back and issue a new endorsement, correcting the old one.
“Correction: An earlier version of this editorial stated that Tedra Cobb favors reimposing an assault weapons ban. She says she wants to address gun violence through widely supported gun control measures but not repeat the errors of the previous federal ban,” the correction reads.
That set the stage for the final debate of the race which took place last night. Since the question was unavoidable, Cobb was asked once and for all whether or not she would support a gun ban. Her answer?
“It may be… it may be… it may be… I don’t know.”
You don’t know? One week before the election and you don’t know what your own position is? I’m reminded yet again of that old saw about the tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. Cobb was caught admitting she was lying to the public back in July and no amount of verbal jujitsu has been able to spring her from the trap. For what it’s worth, 538 has Stefanik running at 53.1% with an 8 in 9 chance of winning.