If Elise Stefanik comes to Washington later this year, she won't need much of a tour around town. The Republican congressional candidate, favored to win an open House seat in northern New York, is a seasoned D.C. veteran, with serious experience in President George W. Bush's administration and the Mitt Romney presidential campaign.
The 29-year-old Harvard graduate recently romped to the GOP nomination in the 21st District, where Democrat Bill Owens is retiring. She'll face Democrat Aaron Woolf, a documentary filmmaker, in November.
Stefanik helped write the 2012 Republican platform and prepared Paul Ryan for his vice presidential debate. From 2006 to 2009, Stefanik "served in the West Wing of the White House as part of President George W. Bush's Domestic Policy Council Staff," according to her campaign website. "And in the Chief of Staff's office where she assisted in overseeing the policy development process on all economic and domestic policy issues."
She later served as director of communications for the Foreign Policy Initiative. And she served as policy director for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's presidential campaign.
Stefanik would be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-N.Y.) was elected at age 31 in 1972 - she served for eight years before losing a Senate bid.
The youngest representative elected at the beginning of the current Congress was Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), who was 30 at the time.
Democrats in Washington are trying to knock her down a peg ahead of November. DCCC Chairman Steve Israel said in a statement after she claimed the GOP nomination: "Elise Stefanik's victory in the Republican primary race to the right proves just how far Karl Rove and the Washington special interests will go to add another loyal rubber stamp to their ranks. The Koch Brothers and billionaires like them are behind Elise Stefanik because they know she will stack the deck in favor of the special interests and the ultra-wealthy at the expense of hardworking New York families and seniors."
But Stefanik is still strongly favored. Though the district, stretching to the Canadian border, is currently represented by a Democrat, this is fertile political ground for Republicans.
And she's winning praise from some prominent Republican figures.
Congrats to my friend @EliseStefanik on her big win tonight!- Neel Kashkari (@neelkashkari) June 25, 2014
Congrats to Elise Stefanik. She'd be a pretty solid addition to the House.- Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) June 25, 2014