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.

Gibson: Ryan Budget Vote ‘Wasn’t Necessary’

Rep. Chris Gibson, facing a well-funded challenge from Democrat Sean Eldridge, questioned the point of voting on the latest budget proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan, suggesting that it was a mistake for the House leadership to do so.

“Yes. It wasn’t necessary,” Gibson said when asked if he thought the Ryan budget vote was a mistake. “We already have a budget. We should be focusing on the appropriations bills.”

Gibson has supported one spending plan proposal made by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who was the party’s vice-presidential candidate in 2012 and a potential candidate in 2016 as well.

Since then, Gibson has supported a variety of budget compromises he has framed as having far more bipartisan support.

In a Capital Tonight interview, Gibson called the latest Ryan plan “a political messaging document.”

“The Senate does the same with their particular issues,” Gibson added.

Despite Gibson’s no vote on the Ryan budget, Eldridge has still criticized Gibson for basically wanting it both ways, noting that he backs aspects of Ryan’s proposals, but still gets to claim his opposition.

Gibson has sought to stress his moderate credentials in the Hudson Valley congressional district, which was redrawn in 2012 by a federal judge during the re-apportionment process.

He once again noted that Eldridge, the husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, “married well” as he first did with Politico.

“He married into money,” he said. “He did well on that score.”

Gibson added that Eldridge is trying to buy the congressional seat.

“The only reason why this guy is the candidate is money,” Gibson said. “It’s money. That’s the only reason.”

Eldridge, has contributed roughly $900,000 to his own campaign, but has emphasized his small-dollar donations when reporting his campaign contributions.

His campaign, in turn, has criticized Gibson for accepting money from political action committees.

Republicans, as well as Gibson, are also continuing to paint Eldridge as a carpetbagger in the district with little experience.

“He has relatively no experience,” Gibson said. “He has no ties to the district. It shows he’s out of touch in the district.”

Gibson Voted Against Ryan Budget, But Eldridge Says Its Still An Issue (Updated)

From the morning memo:

Can the latest — and last — austerity budget proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan be a political problem for Rep. Chris Gibson even if he voted against it?

His Democratic challenger, Sean Eldridge, believes it can be.

Eldridge has criticized Gibson’s support for aspects of the Ryan budget plan ranging from tax cuts to changes to Medicaid.

Eldridge in a statement suggested Gibson is essentially trying to have it both ways as he runs for re-election in a decidedly purple-tinged swing district.

“This is not the first time we’ve seen Chris Gibson act like a typical politician in an election year, but voters have the right to know where he stands on these important issues,” Eldridge said. “Unlike Chris Gibson, there is no mistaking my view on the policies the Ryan budget promotes. I would never support them, regardless of which way the political winds are blowing. The Republican budget proposals are dangerous for the Hudson Valley, and wrong for everyday Americans.”

The fight for the Hudson Valley congressional seat — the NY-19 — is expected to be one of the most heated, and expensive, House races this fall.

Updated: State Republican spokesman David Laska sent this statement along earlier (Which I neglected to spot this morning).

“If Sean Eldridge isn’t a typical politician, it’s because most politicians don’t spend their husband’s money trying to buy elections in districts they just moved into. Sean Eldridge’s utter lack of experience and connections to the 19th Congressional District make it no surprise that, as we learned yesterday, he’s struggling to fill senior campaign positions as he pursues his vanity candidacy.”

State GOP Spokesman To Eldridge Campaign: Why Not Hire Baghdad Bob

As Sean Eldridge’s congressional campaign searches for a new spokesperson, the communications director for the state Republican Committee has a recommendation: Baghdad Bob, of Gulf War II fame.

In a letter to the Eldridge campaign, Republican spokesman David Laska — jokingly, let’s assume — suggests the one-time Saddam Hussein spokesman Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, nicknamed Baghdad Bob during the lead up to and aftermath of the 2003 Iraq war.

The letter comes after BuzzFeed found a help wanted ad for a “young, energetic” spokesperson to work on the campaign following a particularly unflattering story in Politico about Eldridge’s campaign efforts.

Eldridge, a 27-year-old investor, is seeking to take on Republican Rep. Chris Gibson this fall.

Here’s the letter from Laska:

Eldridge Recommendation by Nick Reisman

Eldridge Raises $520K, Gibson $459K

Democratic House hopeful Sean Eldridge raised $520,943, spending just over $200,000 through this reporting period.

Eldridge, the husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, has contributed $965,000 of his own money to the effort so far, and has $1.58 million in cash on hand.

Though he’s received high-profile support from wealthy contributors, Eldridge has been touting the small-dollar donations he’s received and itemized each contribution in his filings.

“The support we’re getting from across the district shows that New Yorkers want new leadership, and I’m proud that we’re running a different kind of campaign. Unlike Congressman Chris Gibson, we publicly disclose every contribution we receive and we refuse to accept money from corporate PACs that have too much power in Washington already,” Eldridge said in a statement

Republican Rep. Chris Gibson reported $459,000 and has $1.2 million in cash on hand, his campaign announced in a news release.

“While we know our opponent will continue to use his billion dollar fortune to try and buy this election, our strong local support cannot be matched. Our campaign gathered 5,000 more signatures than our opponent to appear on the ballot and has raised more local money,” said Stephanie Valle, spokeswoman for the Congressman. “This is reflective of Chris’s record of service and putting Upstate New York first in every action he takes. Though we expect we’ll be outspent, we’re confident we will have the resources we need to win decisively once again.”