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GOP pounces after Democrats don't elevate Mike Derrick, NY-21 candidate, in key program

GOP pounces after Democrats don't elevate Mike Derrick, NY-21 candidate, in key program

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When the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Friday that 14 candidates have been added to its Red to Blue program, the list didn't include the party's challenger in the 21st Congressional District race. 

Mike Derrick, a Democrat who is running against U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, remains in the DCCC's Emerging Races program. He was added to the initiative in April. 

The DCCC said they will continue to work with Derrick, a U.S. Army veteran, as he challenges Stefanik, a freshman Republican from Willsboro. 

Last month, DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján praised Derrick and said he's assembled a "strong campaign." 

"This November, I am confident that voters will elect Colonel Mike Derrick in New York's 21st Congressional District and oust Congresswoman Elise Stefanik," Luján said. 

But the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP's campaign arm, is using the DCCC's announcement Friday to hit Derrick. 

The NRCC noted that Derrick was one of two Democrats not to be promoted in the Red to Blue program — a sign, they say, the DCCC has "abandoned" their candidate in the 21st District. 

Chris Pack, a spokesman for the NRCC, said Derrick's views on an array of issues make him "unelectable." 

"Washington Democrats have realized this and that is why they have abandoned Mike Derrick's campaign for Congress," he said. 

Both parties view the 21st District race as one of the most important contests in New York. Republicans are looking to retain the seat and secure a second term for Stefanik, who succeeded former U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, a Democrat. 

Three of the top political prognosticators believe Stefanik is in position to win re-election. 

Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball rate the 21st District race as "likely Republican." The Rothenberg and Gonzales Political Report lists the seat as "safe Republican." 

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