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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Democratic leaders criticize former congressional candidate Liz Joy for her ‘civilian Army’ statement


CAPITAL REGION — Democratic committee‍ leaders in Saratoga and Schenectady counties allege that ⁣a former congressional⁢ candidate’s recent social‌ media post appears pro-sedition.

Glenville ​conservative activist Liz Joy late​ Monday night on X suggested that armed Americans could — and potentially should ⁣— seize power from⁣ authorities. She later⁢ shared a screenshot of the post on Facebook.

“Approximately 82 Million Americans own firearms,” Joy said in the post. “We are⁤ the largest civilian Army in the World.⁣ If​ we really​ wanted too- we⁢ could⁣ make the decision to defend our own borders and overhaul our ‌Government-.”

“It seems it’s about that time-,”‌ she⁣ continued.

Saratoga County ⁢Democratic Chair Martha Devaney was‍ appalled by the two-time 20th Congressional District challenger’s language.

“It makes me ‍stumble over words, because it’s ‌so⁢ outrageous​ and inflammatory‌ and anti-democratic,” Devaney⁤ said.

In May, the Trump-aligned politician ruled out⁤ a third consecutive​ bid against U.S. Rep. Paul ⁣Tonko, D-Amsterdam,‌ in order to devote more time to serving as a ⁣state-level “election integrity” advocate. Lately, she’s been a political commentator on ​conservative streaming‌ programs.

Since 2020, the blogger has been an outspoken voice in conservative ⁢circles. She’s⁣ been known to espouse hardline views on issues such as​ abortion,⁣ immigration​ and gun rights.

This recent take, Devaney said, is especially ‌alarming.

“It is claimed that such statements fall under freedom of ‌speech, but if this is‍ your speech, it certainly could fall⁣ into the category ⁢of​ going to federal⁣ review,” Devaney claimed.

Several‍ X users‌ tagged the FBI in replies to the post.

Schenectady Democratic Committee Chairman Frank⁤ Salamone ⁤in ‍a‍ statement called on the FBI to investigate the⁤ post ‍to‌ “ensure the safety of all Americans.”

FBI Albany office spokesperson Sarah Ruane ⁤in an email said that the‍ bureau⁢ doesn’t ‍comment on social media ​posts.

Joy hasn’t responded to a request ⁣for ‍comment. ⁤The Daily Gazette Family of Newspapers​ also reached ⁣out to county GOP committees in the area, which did not respond ‌either as of press time.

Assemblymember Phil Steck, D-Colonie, said ‍that the post appears to be protected speech. A ⁣lawyer, Steck‌ said that anyone must‍ show a “clear or present danger” to ⁤warrant attention from​ authorities.

“A mere tweet on some social media platform — I’m ‌not sure it rises to that‍ level,” Steck said. “We don’t want to have ⁢hysteria.”

The staunch progressive, however, ⁤considers Joy’s post to be reckless in the backdrop of global political violence. A ‍survey from‍ the Public ​Religion Research Institute ⁤and the ⁢Brookings Institution released in October showed that 23% of Americans condone political violence — an eight-point jump from 2021.

“In that context,⁤ I think it’s particularly disturbing that ​this former congressional ‍candidate‍ of the Republican Party would be making threats of violence simply because ‍not everyone in the United States agrees with her point of view,” Steck claimed.

On⁣ the‌ island of former ⁢Tonko challengers, Joy stands out ‍as a ⁣comparatively competitive⁤ and​ controversial force. In⁣ 2022,⁤ she defeated Tonko in Saratoga County for ​the first time by 4,237⁢ votes and inched the‍ closest ⁢ever ​to the seasoned politician⁢ in⁢ recent history in overall ⁢margins.

It’s likely that ⁤Joy’s two runs will have a lasting effect​ on the ⁣GOP politics of the 20th Congressional District, according to Ron Seyb, a political scientist at Skidmore College.

“I do think it is a kind of artifact of the Trumpetization of the‌ Republican Party to it, just you’re going to get more of these right-wing candidates,” Seyb said.

Joy characterized Tonko as a ‍soft-on-crime socialist while ‌the congressman, ⁣which declined ⁤to comment on this story, ​casted the Glenville activist as MAGA ‌extremist.‍ Oftentimes, the incumbent’s campaign would attack Joy for helping​ organize a⁢ Jan. 6, 2021 bus trip to Washington D.C. for the ⁤“Stop the Steal” rally, where thousands ⁤of people gathered in protest of 2020 election results.

The⁣ situation soured after rioters⁤ stormed the​ U.S.⁣ Capitol building, causing $2.7 million in damage, ⁣multiple ⁤deaths and a ⁣bevy of injuries. More than‍ 700 people were eventually adjudicated in the years following the incident.

In Joy’s telling,‍ the former candidate ⁣was ⁤situated around ‌peaceful​ compatriots two miles away ⁣from the chaos. ⁤Joy once told​ the Daily Gazette Editorial Board that ‍she didn’t know about the Capitol breach until ⁢she‌ was on the phone​ with CBS6 reporter J.T. Fetch on a home-bound bus trip.

“We didn’t know the violence was even⁢ happening,” Joy said at‌ the time. “You did not know from where we were. You couldn’t ⁤see it.”

Joy told the board⁤ that she has repeatedly condemned​ the violence. She didn’t believe Donald ⁤Trump​ was responsible for influencing any of⁣ the rioters for breaching ‍the U.S. Capitol⁤ building.

That‍ year, the U.S. House⁢ of Representatives, then⁢ under a Democratic majority, arranged a special Jan. 6 committee to ⁤investigate the failed insurrection.⁢ The group ultimately alleged that Trump ⁣played a conspiratorial role in the violence after urging followers to walk with him to the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Saratoga, ‍who has called Joy a friend in the⁢ past, recently ‍slammed the committee over allegations that ‍members⁢ deleted ⁣and ⁢encrypted 100 documents before the GOP took control of the⁢ House last year.

“As‍ I⁢ said from day one,‍ Nancy Pelosi’s sham January 6th Committee ⁤was​ illegitimate ​and unconstitutional,”⁣ Stefanik said in a recent statement.

Stefanik’s campaign ‍didn’t respond to⁤ a ⁣request for⁤ comment regarding Joy’s recent post.

The high-ranking GOP lawmaker on “Meet The Press” refused to commit to the results⁢ of the 2024 election. She didn’t certify the results after Joe Biden’s victory in 2020.

Rafael Torres
Rafael Torres
Rafael Torres, a native of Schenectady, has returned to his hometown after several years of reporting in the Midwest. A graduate of Missouri School of Journalism, Alex is known for his empathetic approach to local news, covering everything from community events to local governance, always with an aim to bridge diverse perspectives.
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  1. Liz Joy’s ‘civilian Army’ statement raises concerns about her understanding of military dynamics and national security.

  2. Disagree: Concerns about Liz Joy’s understanding of military dynamics seem premature; let’s focus on the broader message she’s trying to convey about engaging civilians in national security.


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