Eldridge married well, John Kerry well, and is passing around the equivalent of venture capital walking around money.
The congressional race in NY-19 has been off my radar this cycle, even though the district is just over the Catskill mountains from Ithaca. Republican incumbent Chris Gibson was on our 2012 Operation Counterweight list.
Off my radar until I saw an article at Politico about how Democratic challenger Sean Eldridge is trying to buy the District by handing out money to local businesses and then touting how many jobs he has created in the District. It’s the venture capital equivalent of walking around money.
Eldridge’s introductory campaign video focuses heavily on job creation in the district as a result of his financial investments in local companies:
Where does the money come from? As Chris Gibson, the Republican incumbent aptly puts it, Eldridge married well.
Wealthy people who run for public office typically stick to the same basic blueprint: Plow millions of their personal fortunes into the campaign. Hire big-name consultants. Flood the TV airwaves with ads.
Sean Eldridge is making all of that look quaint. The 27-year-old husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has turned his congressional campaign for New York’s 19th District into a multimillion-dollar start-up — a gambit that veteran election watchers say is as unique as it is brazen.
It has unfolded in rapid-fire sequence. After Eldridge decided he wanted to run for office, he and Hughes in 2011 bought the first of two luxurious homes in the Hudson Valley region. Soon after, Eldridge set up a venture capital firm, Hudson River Ventures, that has provided millions in loans and equity lines to local companies. And now the first-time candidate, who’s running his first business is touting the jobs he’s created in the blue-collar district….
The Democrat is tapping Hughes’s vast wealth — estimated at $700 million — to build an elaborate campaign apparatus in a district where he remains a stranger to many. In addition to his firm’s investments, Eldridge has spent more than $700,000 on his campaign, and that figure is sure to rise exponentially because he’s promised to match each contribution he receives, dollar for dollar.
His efforts are all the more striking in contrast with incumbent GOP Rep. Chris Gibson, a 49-year-old decorated war veteran and former college professor who lives in the same middle-class neighborhood where he grew up…. [T]he Center for Responsive Politics ranks his personal wealth in the bottom fifth of House members….
“This is about him and his political aspirations, and I think that’s going to be a problem for him. He married well, he married into money,” Gibson said of Eldridge. “But there are some things money can’t buy.”
Eldridge also seems to have something of an attitude problem:
The NY-19 race might be worth looking into, again.
Here’s one of Gibson’s campaign videos from 2012:DONATE
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