Democrat Mike Derrick, a retired Army colonel, said Wednesday he will run for Congress in New York’s 21st District, challenging freshman Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik in a district President Barack Obama won twice.
In a statement from his hometown of Peru, New York, Derrick touted his 30 years in the military — which took him from the Demilitarized Zone in South Korea, to the German border and to domestic posts — but said his campaign would focus on issues such as education, agriculture and income inequality.
“I’m running for Congress to make sure that my hometown of Peru and all of the communities in New York’s 21st District have the opportunity to thrive and grow," Derrick said in his statement. "Unfortunately, with the paralysis and stagnation in Congress right now, that’s not happening. Politicians are more concerned with their own political interests than the interests of the people they represent. I’m going to change that.”
Stefanik, a Harvard graduate who served in the George W. Bush administration, was the first Republican elected from the district since 1982, two years before she was born. And while the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call rates the district as Safe Republican , Stefanik was added in May to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Patriot Program,” which provides fundraising and organizational support to the party’s most vulnerable incumbents.
Chris Pack, a spokesman for the NRCC, said Wednesday: “We look forward to seeing which policies of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi that Mike Derrick actually thinks have been good for the North Country.”
In 2014, Stefanik defeated Democrat Aaron Woolf to win the open seat. Woolf said earlier this week he will not seek a rematch. Correction 1:40 p.m. An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Aaron Woolf was a representative when he was defeated by Stefanik.