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The New York Democrat candidate running against House Republican Conference chairwoman Elise Stefanik attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as “an authoritarian.”
During a Tuesday radio interview on the Jeff Graham Show, Democrat candidate Matt Castelli said he does not throw around the word “traitor” lightly and defended his use of the term to describe his opponent citing “her actions” regarding the January 6th riots.
Castelli then said he is not afraid to criticize members of his own party, taking aim at the top House Democrat and calling her “an authoritarian.”
“I do agree that sometimes we need to tone down the sort of dynamic of professional wrestling that our politics has turned into, you know, one side versus the other,” Castelli said in the interview.
“And I’m willing to call out members of my own party when I think that they’re wrong,” the Democrat House candidate continued. “Listen, I think Pelosi is an authoritarian, and I’m not going to support her for another term as speaker.”
“I think she breaks her promises, she tries to rule by division, and we need somebody who’s going to bring folks together,” he added.
Castelli appears to be following suit with Stefanik in attacking Pelosi as “an authoritarian” — the Republican called the California Democrat “a radical authoritarian Speaker” last July.
A spokesperson for Stefanik’s campaign blasted Castelli and his campaign in a statement to Fox News Digital, saying the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has “written him off” as the next blue party member to lose to the number three House Republican.
“Far Left Downstate Democrat from Poughkeepsie Matt Castelli tried to hide the endorsement of gun-grabbing governor Kathy Hochul on his website,” the spokesperson said. “He then admitted that he will vote for Hochul in November.”
“Now, he is mimicking Elise’s talking point that Nancy Pelosi is an authoritarian,” the spokesperson continued. “His desperate campaign is failing and going nowhere, the DCCC has written him off as yet another Democrat who will lose by double digits to Elise Stefanik.”
“Castelli has no path to victory, North Country and Upstate New York voters will send him packing back downstate to Poughkeepsie,” they added.
Castelli told Fox News Digital in a Wednesday statement that his call for Pelosi to be replaced is not new.
“I have consistently stated that I will not be supporting Speaker Pelosi for another term as speaker,” Castelli said. “It’s time for new leadership in the Democratic Party and in Congress, especially for NY-21 – which is why voters are planning to fire Elise Stefanik this November.”
While Castelli has called for a change in speakership away from Pelosi, he has been a vocal proponent of Democrat policies championed by Pelosi, such as the Inflation Reduction Act and the failed Build Back Better bill.
A senior Republican strategist told Fox News Digital “Castelli claims to be a moderate, however he wants to join a caucus that votes almost 100 percent in lockstep with Nancy Pelosi.”
“It’s a complete sham that he is acting independent, when in reality he would be a puppet for Pelosi,” the strategist said.
Neither the DCCC nor Pelosi’s office responded to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.
Stefanik’s seat in Congress is a safe Republican one and most likely will not flip blue to Castelli.