GOP’s Elise Stefanik receives Christmas gift as Dem rival makes Twitter gaffe

The Republican claimed 'Santa came early' after the Democrat referred to the state's residents as 'New Yorkians'

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New Yorker. It’s what residents of the Empire State have long called themselves.

It’s even the name of a magazine – and for more than a half-century it was the name of a model of Chrysler automobile.

So it’s probably no surprise that a Democrat hoping to win a primary next year and then unseat GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik in New York’s 21st Congressional District drew some mockery Friday when he referred to the state’s voters as "New Yorkians."

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"While Elise Stefanik is focused on starting culture wars, I’m focused on helping everyday New Yorkians," candidate Matt Putorti posted on Twitter on Friday morning.

A short time later, Stefanik responded to the Christmas gift by posting a Christmas card to her constituents.

"Merry Christmas New YorkERS!" Stefanik wrote. "Sending you peace, love, and joy this holiday season."

The post was accompanied by a family photo of Stefanik, husband Matt Manda and their 2-month-old baby son Sam.

"Santa came early to #NY21 !!" Stefanik wrote in a separate post, reacting to Putorti’s gaffe.

Stefanik, 37, has been serving in Congress since January 2015 and since May of this year has been serving as chair of the House Republican Conference, the GOP caucus in Congress.

Her speech during the Republican National Convention in 2020, in which she assailed Democrats' "failed" far-left policies, helped boost her national profile. Previously, she drew attention in 2019 for taking on U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., during Trump impeachment hearings.

But in May of this year she faced criticism when the website FiveThirtyEight reported that Stefanik's votes in Congress aligned less frequently with the thinking of former President Trump than the votes of Trump critic U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., did.

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Putorti, a lawyer from Whitehall, New York, is one of at least five Democrats hoping to face Stefanik in a general election in 2022, WAMC Radio of Albany, New York, reported. The other candidates are Ezra Watson, Bridie Farrell, Keith Sherrill and Matt Castelli, the report said.

At least one Republican, Lonny Koons, plans to challenge Stefanik, WAMC reported.

Putorti’s original Friday post was soon gone from his Twitter page – replaced by a corrected version saying "New Yorkers."

But many social media users saw screen captures of the errant post and offered reactions of their own. Some samples: