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NYSNYS NEWS: Conservative activists plan rally and protest outside Boehner-Stefanik fundraiser in Saratoga August 5.
NYSNYS NEWS: Conservative activists plan rally and protest outside Boehner-Stefanik fundraiser in Saratoga August 5.

By Kyle Hughes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (August 5) Reflecting a split in the GOP as the 2016 race for president gets under way, conservative activists plan to protest Wednesday when House Speaker John Boehner attends a big fundraiser here.

The protest rally will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday, one hour before Boehner headlines a fundraiser at the Saratoga National Golf Course to benefit first-term Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro). Tickets are priced at $150-$1,000.

According to the invitation, the fundraiser's organizers include prominent Saratoga regional business leaders Charles Wait of Adirondack Trust, Gary Dake of Stewarts Shops, Jeff Vukelic of Saratoga Eagle distributors, Matthew Bette of Bette & Cring builders, and Michael Bittel of King Arthur Flour.

"We want to come out in force and express our displeasure on some of their recent votes including the horrible TPP and TPA bills that they both supported," Upstate Conservative Coalition President Ben Potiker wrote in an email this week to supporters.

The group was scheduled to gather Tuesday night in Ballston Spa to make rally signs and hear from Brian Fischer, the Tea Party Republican who lost to Rep. Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam) in 2014.

TPP is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multinational trade agreement drawn up in secret that has been condemned by both conservatives and liberals as a "global race to the bottom" which undercuts U.S. laws on worker rights, the environment, freedom of expression and national sovereignty. TPA is the Trade Promotion Authority which fast tracked a vote on TPP, permitting Congress only a yes or no vote and no amendments.

Boehner, an Ohio Republican, has been House Speaker since 2011 is now increasingly under attack by Tea Party Republicans and talk radio hosts. Many of the same critics have also gone after Jeb Bush and other establishment Republicans who are trailing Donald Trump in the polls.

A Stefanik campaign aide said Tuesday she was not authorized to talk to reporters. A call was not immediately returned by the Stefanik campaign. The invitation that went out to supporters said: "This event is closed to the press."

Boehner last visited the area to raise money for Stefanik in September 2014, right before the election. The Glens Falls event also drew protesters, though they were from the Saratoga group that supports Democrats.

Tickets are $150, with $1,000 buying a ticket and photos with Boehner and Stefanik.

Stefanik entered the history books as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress when she won in 2014 at age 30. Her family owns a plywood business near Albany and she went to work as an aide to former President George W. Bush after she graduated from Harvard University in 2006.