Recent fundraising filings show that Democrat challenger Martha Robertson has raised a fair amount of money in her challenge to incumbent Tom Reed in my home district NY-23. Robertson is a DCCC “red to blue” designee, so it’s not surprising that money is flowing to her.

But Robertson is not spending much — which is consistent with what I’ve noticed, that she’s all but non-existent in the media and the campaign trail. And she’s still ducking the media, as noted by the host in the local radio interview I did the other day:

“We cannot get Martha Robertson to come on any, I want to underline that, any of our programs or to react to any charges made against her.”

This is consistent with a pattern we have seen before, Martha Robertson’s hiding act becomes campaign issue in #NY23.

When I tried to ask her questions at a public forum at Cornell, she was evasive and her handlers tried to shut me down.

Laying low may not be helping Robertson. The Buffalo News reports that Robertson’s campaign fundraising strength may not reflect actual competitiveness:

The race for Congress in the Southern Tier’s 23rd district remains financially competitive, with Democrat Martha Robertson having almost as much money on hand as incumbent Republican Rep. Tom Reed to wage the rest of the campaign.

Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission Tuesday showed Reed, of Corning, with $1.27 million on hand, while Robertson, who chairs the Tompkins County Legislature, had $1.13 million as of June 30.

Reed has raised nearly $1 million more than Robertson throughout the campaign, but he’s also spent far more – $1.48 million.

The numbers released Tuesday contribute to a growing debate among Washington political pros as to how competitive the Southern Tier race really is.

“She’s demonstrated she’s a credible candidate, and the Republicans have to take her seriously,” Nathan Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Report said of Robertson.

But David Wasserman, House editor of the Cook Political Report, said Robertson’s strong fundraising doesn’t compensate for her “weak messaging” and strongly liberal leanings.

“In a district that favors a middle-of-the-road candidate, she’s run as anything but that,” said Wasserman, adding that the Cook Political Report may soon reclassify the race, moving it from “lean Republican” to “likely Republican.”

The Robertson campaign is among the strangest I’ve seen in the several years we’ve been covering elections. They have her cloistered and handled, presumably in the hope that after Labor Day they can roll her out without time for people to figure out that she is too liberal for the district. And I doubt we have heard the last of her fundraising scandal, where her campaign falsely claimed GOP operatives tried to take down her website during a crucial fundraising period.

Reed already is hammering Robertson, and likely raising her negatives so that by the time she rolls out her campaign after Labor Day, it may be too late, Fact Check: Mostly true that Martha Robertson “Out of This World” (#NY23). I saw this ad on TV:

Support for Obamacare and single payer and opposition to fracking are unlikely to fly outside of Ithaca.

Ithaca is not the District. It’s just 10 Square Miles Surrounded By Reality.


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