Paper Corrects Endorsement of NY Dem After Her Campaign Says She Doesn’t Support Gun Ban

Tedra Cobb's campaign continues to backtrack after candidate caught on camera supporting 'assault rifle' ban

Tedra Cobb
Tedra Cobb

The campaign of New York Democrat Tedra Cobb said on Monday that a Times Union editorial endorsing her misstated her support for a ban on so-called assault weapons, which the paper then corrected.

The Washington Free Beacon first reported in July that Cobb, who is running against Republican congresswoman Elise Stefanik in New York's 21st Congressional District, was recorded telling a small group of supporters that she supports a ban on certain rifles but couldn't publicly say so for fear of losing her election.

"When I was at this thing today, it was the first table I was at, a woman said, ‘How do you feel about assault rifles?' And I said they should be banned," she said in the video. "And I said, you know, people were getting up to go, to go get their lunch because it was a buffet, and I just said to her, I want you to know Cindy, I cannot say that."

When the woman pushed Cobb to speak publicly about her support for a ban on certain rifles, Cobb responded by saying she couldn't win if she did so.

"And she said, ‘Well, I want you to,' and I said, ‘I won't win,'" Cobb said. "I said Moms Demand [Action] says, and Tricia Pleau said, ‘Do not say that you want an assault rifle ban because you will not win.'"

Cobb's campaign did not respond to the Free Beacon‘s initial report but told another paper the candidate did not want to spend time talking about such a ban because it was a "moot point." Congress wouldn't pass such a ban and the president wouldn't sign it.

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.

"She did not explicitly say she supported an assault weapons ban," Brian Phillips Jr., Cobb campaign spokesperson, told the Press-Republican, despite what Cobb said in the video.

"Tedra explained the inconsistencies and unanticipated consequences that arose from the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban," Phillips told the paper. "It did not work."

In response, the Times Union issued a correction for their endorsement.

"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.

The Stefanik campaign said the Cobb campaign is not being honest about its position on gun control.

"One week before the election, Democrat Tedra Cobb proved once and for all that she lacks the integrity to be honest about her own positions and is willing to lie to North Country voters to protect her own campaign," Lenny Alcivar, Stefanik's communications director, told the Free Beacon. "On election night, Tedra Cobb will be remembered as the most dishonest congressional candidate in the history of the 21st District."