Sep 30th - 8:50 am
Democrat Sean Eldridge is continuing his negative assault on his GOP opponent, Rep. Chris Gibson, in the wake of a TWC News/Siena poll that found him trailing the incumbent congressman by 24 percentage points.
The first-time and largely self-funding candidate is poised to hit the airwaves with his fourth TV ad – a spot in which Eldridge tries to wrest the “independent” mantle from Gibson by accusing him of voting with the interests of his donors, not his constituents, in mind.
This comes on the heels of a radio ad that sought to link Gibson to the conservative Koch brothers, who have become the boogeymen of choice for Democrats this campaign cycle.
“Whether it’s his vote to undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or his pledge to the Koch Brothers to take no meaningful action on climate change, Congressman Gibson has shown time and time again that he’s siding with his corporate donors instead of us,” Eldridge said in a statement.
“I’m not accepting a dime of corporate PAC money, so I’ll be accountable only to families in our region. I’ll stand up to the Big Banks and Big Oil and fight for badly-needed campaign finance reform in Washington.”
Eldridge’s campaign also noted that nearly $1 million worth of outside money has already been spent in support of Gibson in this race, including by the NRCC, which considers protecting the congressman a top priority, and the US Chamber of Commerce.
Gibson has consistently sought to cast himself as a pragmatist who often votes independently from the House GOP leadership and works across the aisle with his Democratic colleagues.
Eldridge’s campaign has been the focus of negative press for several months now, as he has struggled to find his footing in the race for the 19th Congressional District. The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates the race as “Tilts Republican.” UPDATE: Actually, Rothenberg has more recently ranked this race “leans Republican,” as Gibson’s campaign points out
Also, Gibson’s campaign is calling Eldridge a hypocrite for dinging Gibson on fracking when his husband, Facebook cofounder and New Republic editor Chris Hughes, owns stakes worth as much as $1.35 million in oil companies that employ the practice. Also, on the limiting big money in politics front, the congressman’s campaign notes that he proposed a mutual finance cap for this race, but Eldridge rejected it as a “phony, election-year device” and not true campaign finance reform.
Here’s the script of Eldridge’s latest ad, which goes up on the air tomorrow:
“Eldridge: I’m Sean Eldridge, and I approve this message.
I won’t take a dime of corporate PAC money. I’ll be an independent voice in Washington and I won’t represent anybody but you.
Narrator: Chris Gibson? He’s been siding with his campaign donors, not us.
Gibson’s taken money from gas drillers then supported fracking, which could pollute our drinking water.
Chris Gibson’s looking out for his campaign donors. Isn’t it time someone was looking out for us?
Sep 23rd - 12:33 pm
Democratic congressional hopeful Sean Eldridge’s campaign will start airing a radio ad this week that is aimed at knocking Republican Rep. Chris Gibson’s record.
Eldridge’s radio ad highlights the candidate’s own support for abortion rights, equal pay and overhauling campaign-finance regulations.
Gibson, meanwhile, is criticized for accepting donations from Wall Street and energy interests while supporting hydrofracking (and to be fair, Eldridge has tapped into a wealthy donor base himself).
The radio ad also ties Gibson to the Koch brothers — who have go-to boogeymen for Democratic campaigns this cycle.
“The special interests and big corporations are well represented in Washington,” the Eldridge radio ad states. “It’s time somebody stood up for us.”
While it’s the first radio-based ad of his campaign, Eldridge has been blanketing the TV airwaves with commercials. Gibson released his first ad of the campaign last week with a 30-second spot touting a very non-partisan effort on Lyme disease.
The minute-long spot comes after a Siena College/Time Warner Cable News poll showed Gibson leading Eldridge by 24 percentage points.
However, the same poll showed voters backing a number of the policy measures aligned with Eldridge’s campaign.
Sep 18th - 11:55 am
Republican Congressman Chris Gibson has gained the endorsement of two statewide organization in as many days, and has at least one on the way. Yesterday, the State Association of Letter Carriers put their weight behind the incumbent Congressman, while today the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) announced their endorsement.
Both groups only amount to about 30 thousand members each (statewide nonetheless), but indicates a step in the right direction for Gibson’s campaign. He was also endorsed by NYSUT earlier this year, which has almost twenty times as many members as either union mentioned above.
MSSNY pointed out the Congressman’s actions to prevent cuts to Medicare and rising costs of medical liability insurance. In a statement released Thursday, they said:
“Through his votes and co-sponsorship of key bills, Representative Gibson has fought to preserve the ability of our seniors to have comprehensive choice of physicians to provide their care, fought to limit the ability of the federal government to make arbitrary cuts to the Medicare program that would harm our patients’ access to care, and supported efforts to preserve the viability of our health care delivery system by reducing the choking costs of medical liability insurance. All of these actions are essential if we are to assure a highly functioning health care system now and in the future to meet the needs of our patients.”
Of course, it should be pointed out that those positions were part of the Paul Ryan Budget Plan which passed the House earlier this year but failed in the Senate.
As for the Postal Carriers, they released a statement Wednesday, saying in part:
“Congressman Gibson has shown a true understanding of our postal and labor issues, including the unfair mandate to prefund future retiree health benefits, and stands with us. He also acknowledges that the elimination of 6 day mail delivery and door to door delivery would have a devastating effect on his constituency and the entire country,”
The Gibson campaign also announced Thursday that the Congressman will be gaining the endorsement of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades on Monday.
UPDATE: The Sean Eldridge campaign contacted State of Politics Thursday with a list of endorsements for the Democratic candidate. To date, Sean Eldridge has received the following endorsements: The Sierra Club, 1199 SEIU (May), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (October 2013), Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (April), UAW (May), and a flurry of local unions including CWA Local 1120 and 1103, IBEW Local 320 and 363, Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 21, APWU Local 3722, NPMHU Local 300 and 309, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, IATSE Local 1, and UFCW Local 1500 and 1 (all September.)
Our TWC News/Siena Poll released earlier this month put Eldridge 24 points behind incumbent Chris Gibson at that time.
Sep 16th - 9:19 am
From the morning memo:
Republican Rep. Chris Gibson will release his first TV ad for his re-election campaign later today with an eye toward highlighting his work for constituents in Washington.
The minute-long spot shines a light on Gibson’s efforts to secure funding for Lyme disease research as well as enhance the federal government’s response to the illness and other tick-borne illnesses.
The ad, called “Kaleigh’s Story”, focuses exclusively on two Gibson constituents who lobbied for the measure’s passage.
And in a Congress in which very little has gotten done, highlighting progress made on legislation with Democrats — including New York Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney and Paul Tonko — would no doubt help in what is expected to be a hotly contested re-election campaign.
The Gibson campaign has reserved $1.5 million in air time from now until Election Day in the district’s four media markets.
This ad is expected to be rotated out with other spots through the campaign.
The Hudson Valley district, redrawn in 2012, is not as conservative as the previous 20th congressional district, a seat held by Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand and later won by Gibson in 2010.
“Holly and Kaleigh Ahern’s story is illustrative of how Congressman Gibson serves his constituents in Congress,” said Kevin Crumb, Gibson’s campaign manager. “He met with Holly and listened to her, just as he does with hundreds of constituents each month. Recognizing a role for the federal government in helping Lyme sufferers like Kaleigh and their advocates like Holly, Chris worked across party lines to get meaningful legislation through the House of Representatives. This constituent-driven legislation is an example of government done right and why the best reelection strategy is service.”
Gibson faces Democratic candidate Sean Eldridge this November, a wealthy venture capitalist who has been able to tap rich donors to help fund his effort.
The Gibson ad comes as Edridge’s television commercials have been airing in heavy rotation through the district.
A Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll last week found Gibson leading Eldridge in the 19th congressional district by 24 percentage points, 57 percent to 33 percent.
Sep 14th - 12:40 pm
A new ad from Democratic NY-19 candidate Sean Eldridge hit airwaves this weekend. The ad points out incumbent Republican Chris Gibson’s voting record on Planned Parenthood – he’s previously voted to cut funding for the organization.
Eldridge then repeats his support for a woman’s right to choose and equal pay for women.
Here’s the full script (video embedded at the bottom of this post):
I respect Chris Gibson, so I was surprised to learn that even though he says he’s pro-choice he’s consistently voted against a woman’s right to choose. He even voted to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.
I won’t play politics with women’s health, and you’ll always know where I stand.
I served on the board of Planned Parenthood in the Hudson Valley and fought to protect a woman’s right to choose and access to birth control.
In Congress, I’ll continue to fight for women, including equal pay for equal work.
This is the first negative ad from Eldridge since launching his campaign last year. His other ads, found here and here, talk about his background in the Hudson Valley and his position on certain issues, including women’s rights.
This new ad comes after an exclusive TWC News/Siena Poll released Thursday put Eldridge 24 points behind Congressman Gibson. The numbers show a serious name recognition problem for Eldridge, with 57 percent of voters saying they don’t know enough about him to have an opinion.
Ironically, Gibson enjoys a 57 percent favorability rating, despite support from voters on progressive issues like a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, higher taxes for millionaires, and a minimum wage hike.
Read the full results of that poll here.
Sep 11th - 8:00 pm
Republican Congressman Chris Gibson has a 24 percentage point lead over his Democratic challenger Sean Eldridge with less than two months until Election Day, according to an exclusive Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll.
The poll found that Gibson, a two-term incumbent, would defeat Eldridge 57 percent to 33 percent. Meanwhile, Gibson enjoys a 57 percent favorable rating. Coincidentally, 57 percent of voters haven’t heard enough about Eldridge to form an opinion, despite his TV ads airing in heavy rotation.
Eldridge also has some work to do with members of his own party. The poll found 25 percent of Democrats back Gibson in the Hudson Valley district. And 60 percent of voters not enrolled in a party also back the incumbent Republican’s re-election.
Eldridge still brings a lot of money to the campaign: His husband is the wealthy co-founder of Facebook and the candidate himself is a venture capitalist as well as an advocate for the public financing of political campaigns.
The Gibson campaign has knocked the lack of ties Eldridge to the district, while Democrats have pointed to Gibson’s support from political action committees and have sought to tie him to the tea party.
Despite Eldridge’s troubles, the poll did find support for a variety of liberal issues.
Sixty-four percent support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants while also securing the nation’s borders. Sixty-seven percent back the so-called Buffett Rule for taxing millionaires and there is broad support — 67 percent to 21 percent — for increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
Voters surveyed say they are split on preserving Obamacare, 44 percent supporting repealing and replacing it, and 45 percent opposing such an action.
And in a sign that voters aren’t thrilled with incumbents generally, 71 percent back term limits for members of Congress.
Not surprisingly, the most important issue of the campaign is jobs (33 percent of voters), followed by Social Secutiy/Medicare (17 percent) as well as health care (15 percent).
Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, an early endorser of Eldridge, posted low numbers in the NY-19. Sixty-percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion of Cuomo, compared to 30 percent who have a favorable view.
Matched up with his Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, Cuomo leads 39 percent to 36 percent.
The poll, conducted from Sept. 4 and between Sept. 7 and Sept. 9, surveyed 609 likely voters. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.
Aug 19th - 10:51 am
Democratic congressional hopeful Sean Eldridge on Tuesday announced his campaign will beginning airing a pair of TV ads in the Hudson Valley district.
The ads — one is called “Hear It From Me” and a second is titled “Independent Advocate” — serve the twin purposes of introducing the first-time candidate to voters and highlighting his role in the community, essentially pushing back on the “carpetbagger” claims Republicans have sought to make in the campaign.
“Before voters become inundated with outside attack ads, I want them to hear directly from me about who I am and where I stand on the issues that matter most to hard working families in NY-19,” said Eldridge in a statement. “In Congress, I will continue to be an advocate for small businesses in our region, for a woman’s right to choose, and for reforming our broken campaign finance system to reduce the influence of corporate money in Washington.”
Eldridge, a wealthy venture capitalist who is married to the co-founder of Facebook, acknowledges both his wealth in one ad while also showing he’s sought to establish roots in the area.
His money is spun into a positive: With the ability to self-fund, he is free of special interests (This is a veiled knock on Republican Rep. Chris Gibson, who Democrats have blasted for accepting funds from political action committees).
“I’ve been very fortunate in my life,” Eldridge says in the “Independent Advocate” ad. “My husband Chris was one of the founders of Facebook, so I have the independence to reject special interest contributions and to do what’s right: to fight for our environment, for a woman’s right to choose and to reform our broken campaign finance system.”
“Hear It From Me,” meanwhile, is meant to respond to some of the early criticism he’s been hit with by Republicans and the national press by highlighting his stances on issues.
“I live in the Hudson Valley because I love it, and I’m working to help make it better: investing in local small businesses to help them create jobs, advocating for a woman’s right to choose, and working to reduce the influence of special interest money in politics,” Eldridge says in the ad.
The race for the NY-19 is expected to be one of the costliest in the state and one more closely watched.
Republicans quickly responded to the ads.
“Sean Eldridge is right – people are going to hear a lot about Sean Eldridge,” said NRCC spokesman Ian Prior. “Like the fact that Eldridge talks about trying to get special interest money out of politics, while funding his campaign with millions from own profits he makes from the very corporations and industries that he criticizes. Or that Eldridge’s claim of creating jobs is based on a venture capital firm he set up just so that he could buy votes for his Congressional election. And people will definitely learn that Eldridge would have voted for Obamacare, against the bipartisan Farm Bill, and for a massive payroll tax hike on middle class families and small businesses.”
Aug 18th - 1:19 pm
The AFL-CIO on Monday endorsed a host of Democratic candidates and incumbents running in key battleground districts in New York, but declined to take up an endorsement in the 19th congressional district race between Republican Rep. Chris Gibson and Democratic challenger Sean Eldridge.
The labor umbrella group also declined to endorse opponents of Republican incumbents Peter King on Long Island and western New York Rep. Chris Collins.
Rep. Richard Hanna, a Republican who fended off a primary challenge from Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney in June, does not have a Democratic opponent this fall and was not endorsed by the AFL-CIO.
“Critical issues like comprehensive immigration reform, the minimum wage, and infrastructure spending have languished at the federal level, and New York needs a strong delegation that will give Congress the kick start it so desperately needs. With our help on Election Day, our endorsed candidates will be that strong voice in Washington DC for New York’s hardworking families.”
Eldridge has rolled out a series of labor endorsements over the course of the campaign, including the influential Communications Workers of America.
But the lack of a nod from the AFL-CIO is at the least eyebrow-raising, given that the battle for the NY-19 is considered one of the more high-profile races in the state (Eldridge’s campaign had been critical of a poll from the AFL-CIO on transportation issues that showed him trailing Gibson).
Aug 14th - 12:19 pm
The political arm of a national environmental organization is running TV ads praising Republican Rep. Chris Gibson for supporting “smart policies” that both “lower energy costs and protect the environment.”
The Environmental Defense Fund’s Action PAC today launched a $230,000, two-week buy in all four of NY-19′s media markets, according to the congressman’s office. The spot, which appears below, doesn’t cite any specific votes (or mention the fact that Gibson is a Republican), but does laud him for “working across the aisle for responsible solutions.”
That bipartisanship focus is one Gibson often makes hismel, particularly as he’s facing a well-funded challenge from Democratic political newcomer Sean Eldridge.
The Environmental Defense Fund isn’t the first outside entity to spend money in this race. Back in May, the US chamber of Commerce ran an ad that highlighted Gibson’s military record and “working-class roots,” lauding his support for rolling back “job-killing regulations” and deeming him an “independent voice” in Congress. This ad drew criticism from Eldridge, who accused the congressman of supporting a “corporate agenda” that runs counter to the needs of his consituents.
UPDATE: POLITICO reports that the EDF’s Gibson ad is part of a seven-figure campaign “to aid green-minded Republicans in the midterm elections – part of a longer-term effort to find GOP partners on priorities like climate change” at a time when there isa deep partisan divide on so-called “green” issues in D.C.
Gibson is the first post-primary beneficiary of this effort, which also includes print and online ads.
POLITICO notes Gibson was the only House Republican this summer to oppose appropriations amendments aimed at halting spending on just about every major climate change study and prohibiting federal agencies from considering the costs of carbon pollution in their regulations. He was also one of only three Republicans to oppose an amendment meant to throttle an Energy Department climate program.
In addition, a reader points out that there is division within the green community over the EDF and its work on fracking – specifically, a controversial University of Texas study released in 2013 on methane leaks from fracking wells, for which it collaborated with natural gas companies.
Here’s the transcipt for the EDF ad:
“It’s good to know some people in Washington are still working for New York families. Congressman Chris Gibson has voted for smart policies for us. Chris Gibson is working across the aisle for responsible solutions, fighting to stop climate change by preserving common sense limits on air pollution, and supporting high tech investments that lower energy costs and protect the environment. Call Chris Gibson and thank him for his responsible votes in Congress. Paid for by the Environmental Defense Action Fund.”
Aug 7th - 10:29 am
Republicans on Thursday are trumpeting a poll from the SMART Transportation Division and the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department that found GOP Rep. Chris Gibson leading Democratic challenger Sean Eldridge by 27 percentage points.
The survey, ostensibly conducted to gauge voters in the 19th congressional district on attitudes toward transportation, found 56 percent would vote to re-elect Gibson this November, with 29 percent backing Eldridge.
Gibson, meanwhile, has 86 percent name identification with voters and a favorable-unfavorable rating of 48 percent to 16 percent.
Eldridge, meanwhile, has a 55 percent name identification and a 10 percent to 8 percent favorable-unfavorable rating.
“Sean Eldridge’s candidacy has been a disaster of epic proportions,” said NRCC spokesman Ian Prior. “Eldridge has shown himself to be an over-ambitious, out-of-touch hypocrite whose ultra-liberal policies would drastically raise the cost of living and make life harder for middle class Hudson Valley Families that don’t have a $700 million bank account like Eldridge does.”