Eldridge Campaign Releases Two TV Ads

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.”

AFL-CIO Passes Over NY-19

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).

Environmental Defense Fund Hits Airways for Gibson (Updated)

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.”

NRCC Trumpets NY-19 Poll Showing Eldridge Trailing Gibson

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.”

NY-19 Rail Survey 0714 by Nick Reisman

Eldridge And Campaign Manager Part Ways

Michael Reid, the campaign manager for Democratic congressional candidate Sean Eldridge departed on Friday, a move he campaign referred to as “new leadership.”

“We decided to bring in new leadership for the final few months of the campaign,” Eldridge campaign spokeswoman Sophie Friedman said. “We wish Mike well and are appreciative of all his hard work and efforts.”

The news that Reid had left the campaign was first reported the blog Down With Tyranny, which framed Reid’s departure as a firing.

Eldridge hopes to unseat Republican Rep. Chris Gibson in the 19th congressional district.

Reid’s departure from the campaign was pounced on by Republicans.

“If Eldridge can’t competently manage a Congressional campaign funded by $1 million of his own money, it seems a lot to expect that he could competently serve as a Congressman for Hudson Valley families,” said Ian Prior, a spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee.

State GOP Chairman Ed Cox also piled on in response to the news.

“Sean Eldridge might be used to treating the world as his personal playground, but New York’s 19th District is not his sandbox,” Cox said in a statement. ”A candidacy fueled solely by deep pockets and a vain desire to be called ‘Congressman’ was destined to founder, and it is.”

NRCC Robocalls Against Eldridge

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Monday released a robocall aimed at voters in the 19th congressional district, where Democrat Sean Eldridge hopes to unseat GOP incumbent Chris Gibson.

The script throws a lot at Eldridge, accusing him of reiterating “generic talking points from Nancy Pelosi” and that he’s been vague about what fixes he would seek for the Affordable Care Act.

The NY-19 is one of the more closely watched and expected to be most expensive House campaign in New York this year.

Here’s the script:

“I’m calling from the National Republican Congressional Committee with an urgent message about Democrat Sean Eldridge. Eldridge wants to be elected to Congress, but when reporters ask him about where he stands on the issues he just repeats generic talking points from Nancy Pelosi and her campaign team. Voters deserve to know why Eldridge supports ObamaCare and what fixes, if any, he would offer if elected. And will Eldridge call for an independent special prosecutor to investigate the abuses and cover ups at the IRS? Call Sean Eldridge today at 845-853-8121 and tell him to start answering reporters’ questions. This call was paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee.”

Eldridge Gets 1199 SEIU Endorsement

Democratic House hopeful Sean Eldrdige continued his roll out this week of labor endorsements with his campaign announcing the backing of 1199 SEIU, a key union that has close ties to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“NY-19 is an absolute must win and we are 100% behind Sean,” said Kevin Finnegan, 1199SEIU Political Director, said in a statement. “Sean has been consistent on the issues, whether it be supporting raising the minimum wage and equal pay for equal work, or opposing attempts to undermine overtime pay. His opponent, Chris Gibson, on the other hand, has failed to live up to his word, saying he supports raising the minimum wage, then voting against it in Congress. 1199SEIU members know they can count on Sean to advocate for the issues that New York’s working families care about most.”

Eldridge this week was previously endorsed by the UAW and last month received the backing of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store workers union.

“I am thrilled to receive the support of 1199SEIU,” said Sean Eldridge. “1199SEIU has been on the front lines of fighting to ensure access to top quality healthcare for all New Yorkers. Growing up in a small town with two doctors as parents, I know how important access to affordable healthcare is to building a strong economy and healthy community, and I look forward to partnering with 1199SEIU to increase access to quality healthcare for working families.


UAW Backs Eldridge In NY-19 (Updated)

The UAW Region 9A labor group endorsed Democratic congressional hopeful Sean Eldridge on Wednesday, the second labor union to back him against GOP Rep. Chris Gibson.

“If elected, Sean will work fiercely to preserve and expand worker protections,” said Julie Kushner, UAW Region 9A Director. “The UAW is proud to endorse Sean and support him in his effort to represent the good people of NY-19.”

Eldridge was previously endorsed by the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, as well as the labor-aligned Working Families Party.

In a statement, Eldridge said his support from labor contrasted with Gibson’s stance on the issues.

“My opponent wants you to believe that he is pro-labor and against corporate tax loopholes, but Chris Gibson voted in favor of a territorial tax system that encourages American companies to keep jobs abroad and ship more overseas by requiring that corporations only pay taxes on business inside the country. If elected, I will work for reforms that actually close corporate tax loopholes and protect American jobs, and I’ll stand up consistently for working families in our region – and not offer empty promises in an election year.”

Updated: State GOP spokesman David Laska responds.

“Sean Eldridge has a lot of gall telling working families that he knows what’s best for them: he’s 27 years old, hasn’t worked a day in his life and is running for Congress with hundreds of millions of dollars of family money in a mansion he bought when he moved into the district just last year. Sean Eldridge understands the middle class issues about as well as a toad understands quantum mechanics.”

US Chamber To Hit NY-19 Airways For Gibson (Updated)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is poised to launch a slew of TV ads in districts held by “vulnerable” House Democrats and in support of incumbent Republicans, including New York Rep. Chris Gibson, who is facing a challenge from Democratic newcomer Sean Eldridge.

Citing media-tracking sources, POLITICO reported that the chamber has reserved air time in more than half a dozen competitive House races and in states with competitive US Senate contests. The full cost of the campaign was not yet available.

Gibson is the only New Yorker to benefit from the business organization’s air buy. The ad, which appears below, focuses on Gibson’s working-class roots and his experience as a combat veteran. It also deems him an “independent voice for jobs,” which echoes Gibson’s own efforts to cast himself as a pragmatist in a conference dominated by ideological conservatives.

This is the first salvo in what is shaping up to be one of the more bitter and expensive House races in New York this year, thanks in no small part to Eldridge’s personal wealth and the GOP’s desire to hold the seat at (almost) any cost.

UPDATE: A GOP source says the buy is $279,000 for broadcast and cable. The ad starts airing tomorrow in the Albany and New York City markets (to hit the upper Hudson Valley portion of the district) and will run through May 19th.

Eldridge Campaign Hits Back On Gibson’s Energy Tax Pledge

The campaign of Democratic congressional candidate Sean Eldridge is knocking Rep. Chris Gibson for signing on to a “no climate tax” pledge that is supported by Americans For Prosperity, a group founded by industrialists David and Charles Koch.

Gibson on Capital Tonight Thursday knocked Eldridge’s stance on energy taxes, saying it’s more evidence that he’s out of step with the congressional district.

“My opponent criticizes me for opposing energy taxes, he shows he’s not from here,” Gibson said.

Eldridge’s campaign, though, says this line is a reference to the AFP pledge.

“Politician Chris Gibson claims in an election year that he is in line with his constituents on the environment, but the Real Chris Gibson signed the Koch Brothers pledge and has an 33 percent lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters,” said spokesman Morgan Hook. “If Chris Gibson is so proud of his record in Washington – as he says – then why doesn’t he just come clean to New Yorkers about his commitment to the Koch brothers to take no meaningful action on climate change? Voters in NY-19 know where Sean Eldridge stands on the issues, including his opposition to hydro-fracking and his efforts as a former board member of Scenic Hudson to protect our environment and prepare communities in the Hudson Valley for climate change and sea level rise.”

The Koch brothers and their political activities, of course, remain useful foils for Democratic candidates around the country, Eldridge’s campaign not being an exception.