A progressive organization is asking Tedra Cobb’s campaign to stop touting an endorsement by a local chapter of the group that was not authorized to support a candidate.

New York Progressive Action Network is asking Cobb, who lives in Canton and is running in the Democratic primary in the NY-21 District, to remove her social media posts saying she was backed by the group. The state NYPAN has endorsed Patrick Nelson of Stillwater.

NYPAN Co-chairman George Albro said there was a misunderstanding between the state group and an Albany-based chapter of the organization.

“The statewide organization of NYPAN does not recognize that chapter as having a presence in the 21st Congressional District,” he said.

The Washington County and Saranac Lake chapters decided not to take a position on the matter because of the competitive nature of the race, according to Albro. There are five Democratic candidates running to replace U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, who is seeking her third two-year term.

Those two chapters said they had no issue with the state chapter endorsing a candidate. The state group endorsed Nelson at its April 14 meeting because he was a delegate for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders during his presidential bid and a founding member of NYPAN, according to Albro.

“It was a natural endorsement for us to make,” he said.

Albro said the director of an Albany chapter was at the meeting of the statewide group and abstained from the vote. The Albany group decided to make a counter-endorsement under the direction of a Cobb campaign worker who is in the group.

“They issued what we regard as a null-and-void endorsement of Tedra Cobb,” he said.

He hopes that everyone is acting in good faith and has asked Cobb to remove the endorsement from its website, which has not been done.

“If she wins the primary, she’s going to need a lot of grassroots support,” he said.

Cobb campaign Manager Mike Szustak said he considered this an internal dispute over endorsements. Cobb was interviewed by the Albany NYPAN group.

“They had her fill out a questionnaire. There was a process. They chose Tedra Cobb. We’re happy to have their support,” he said.

Patrick Nelson