A pair of stories published online Tuesday harshly criticized Republican Congressional candidates Matthew A. Doheny and Elise M. Stefanik from both the right and the left side of the political spectrum.
A story appearing in the Washington Free Beacon, a publication sponsored by the conservative 501(c)4 Center for American Freedom, again raised the issue of Mr. Doheny’s treatment of one of his former campaign staffers, Alicia M. Sirk, and attributed it to what the author described as Mr. Doheny’s long history of disrespecting women.
And a post in the Daily Kos, a progressive blog, alleged that Ms. Stefanik was “an entirely manufactured candidate for Congress.”
Mrs. Sirk, a former deputy of campaign manager and director of campaign operations during Mr. Doheny’s 2012 run for the 21st Congressional District seat, has filed a worker’s compensation claim against Mr. Doheny for injuries she suffered in a car accident while traveling to a campaign event that year.
The New York state Department of Labor awarded Ms. Sirk $34,383 in April 2013 for reimbursements and unpaid wages she earned while working on the campaign.
In the Washington Free Beacon story, Mrs. Sirk said that she was treated differently than male staffers who were reimbursed on time and were paid more than she was paid.
The story also cites an anonymous source “familiar with the district” who said that a comment disparaging Ms. Stefanik tweeted by one of Mr. Doheny’s supporters was a reflection of the candidate’s attitude toward women.
The story also references a video posted by Gawker in the runup to the 2012 primary election that shows Mr. Doheny embracing two women outside a Washington D.C. steakhouse while he was in the city for a National Republican Congressional Committee-sponsored candidate school. Mr. Doheny was engaged to marry his longtime girlfriend Mary E. Reidy at the time. Video and pictures taken at the scene also purportedly show Mr. Doheny kissing a woman who also was not his fiancee. Mr. Doheny’s campaign denied that anything inappropriate happened and Mr. Doheny and Ms. Reidy married in the summer of 2012.
All of the claims in the story have been reported on by a number of media outlets, including the Watertown Daily Times.
The Daily Kos post centers around a “close examination of the campaign material being used by Elise Stefanik.” According to the author, “almost everything used to promote Stefanik’s background is either a gross exaggeration or an outright fabrication.”
Ms. Stefanik, a 2006 graduate of Harvard University and a former policy adviser in the George W. Bush White House, has pitched herself to north country voters as a “small businesswoman.” She has worked as a sales representative for her family’s Albany County-based plywood distribution business since 2012, shortly after serving as the director of debate prep for U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who was running for vice president at the time.
The Daily Kos post pokes holes in Ms. Stefanik’s story, alleging that she could not have accumulated much small business experience while she worked for several years in Washington, D.C., after graduating from college.
The post also raises the issue of Ms. Stefanik’s residency in the district, something Mr. Doheny’s campaign has also repeatedly questioned.
The post alleges that Ms. Stefanik “declared a nominal residency” at her family’s vacation home in Willsboro so that she could run for Congress and that despite claims that she “came back to the north country,” she did not grow up in the region.
According to the post’s author, upstate New York and the north country have seen several independently wealthy candidates from both sides of the aisle run for Congress in the area in recent years, though none of them have exaggerated or fabricated their backgrounds like Ms. Stefanik.
The post concludes with an exhortation that Ms. Stefanik tell the truth about her background.