Republican Congressman Tom Reed’s “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” campaign ads may be the best troll job ever.

Reed is in NY-23, which includes liberal Ithaca. “Liberal” doesn’t fully capture the Ithaca vibe, which I described in November 2008:

To live in Ithaca is to live in a city alive with anti-Bush, anti-war protest.  I often joke that the directions to my house in Ithaca  read as follows:  Take a right at the fifth Obama sign, a left at the third “Impeach Bush” placard, bear right at the “Support Our Troops, End the War” poster, and we are the house just after the “There’s a Village in Texas Missing its Idiot” banner.

Ithaca is 10 sq. miles of bumper stickers surrounded by reality;

Ithaca used to be in the old NY-22 District, which was gerrymandered to keep Maurice “Red” Hinchey in office. After the 2010 redistricting, which was done judicially in New York, Ithaca became part of the new NY-23 District, which has a Republican +3-4 electorate. The District runs along the Southern Tier of upstate New York, bordering Pennsylvania. It’s a huge district geographically, and has elected Republican Tom Reed in every election since the redistricting.

Reed’s campaign has what must be the best trolling campaign ever. Under the banner of “Extreme Ithaca Liberal,” Reed contrasts himself against the liberals (sometimes from Ithaca, sometimes from elsewhere) who inevitably run against him.

The “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” campaign drives Extreme Ithaca Liberals crazy. They hate it.

Reed used that campaign theme to perfection against Martha Robertson in 2014.

Reed was excoriated by Ithaca liberals over the “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” theme, but he won in a landslide in 2014, and again in 2016.

The “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” campaign theme works because there is a truth to it. I say that respectfully, since some of my best friends are Extreme Ithaca Liberals. (Actually, that’s not true, but it sounds good.)

Reed has renewed the “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” theme for the 2018 election cycle. And Ithaca liberals are still furious about it, as I wrote in April 2018, Rep. Tom Reed (#NY23) centers 2nd Amendment in reelection bid, revives Extreme Ithaca Liberal theme:

In 2016, Reed was one of the first congressmen to endorse Donald Trump. National Democrats figured they couldn’t run a Martha Robertson-type again, so they selected John Plumb, an ex-military guy from the western part of the District, far from Ithaca. But Plumb never gained any traction, and Reed won easily again, by over 15 points.

Reed has not run from Trump or the electorate, and has held many townhalls where other Republicans have shied away. We covered how #TheResistance has organized against Reed, Here’s how liberal activists astroturfed town hall protests against Rep. Tom Reed (#NY23).

Reed is in his element in these townhalls, mixing it up with “Extreme Ithaca Liberals” who inevitably show up even outside Ithaca….

Earlier this year Reed reinvigorated his “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” campaign, as part of a broader push focusing on 2nd Amendment rights. In this District, there is intense hatred (outside Ithaca) for NY’s SAFE act, which imposes strict and often bizarre gun control requirements. Particularly after the Parkland shooting, liberal challengers to Reed are calling for more gun control, but Reed is standing firm on the issue….

There are many other ads, images and videos for each of the 6 potential Democrat candidates at the Extreme Ithaca Liberal website, and Twitter account.

To Reed’s opponents, the “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” yard signs are like waving a red flag in front of a raging bull. Here is what the yard sign looks like.

Then the yard signs started disappearing.

The Reed campaign tied some of the yard sign theft to a volunteer for the Tracy Mitrano campaign (she ended up winning the primary later on).

And then the Reed campaign came up with a brilliant idea — put GPS tracking devices in some of the signs, wait for them to be stolen, then track them.

And it worked brilliantly, as The Ithaca Journal reported:

A leader of a group that regularly protests against U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, has been charged with petit larceny after being accused of stealing campaign signs.

Following the disappearance of campaign signs, members of Tom Reed’s campaign team installed a tracker in the signs, which eventually led them to the home of Gary McCaslin.

But McCaslin, who leads Citizens for a Better Southern Tier, wasn’t giving up everything. “You found the sign, I’m keeping the tracker — you call the police,” he told Reed’s campaign manager.

According to Reed’s office, McCaslin, a retired pastor of the First Baptist Church in Painted Post, was caught last week stealing “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” signs. He was charged with petit larceny on July 5….

While Tom Reed’s office is accusing McCaslin of theft, McCaslin’s lawyer, Christina Sonsire, said he was practicing stewardship when he removed Reed’s sign on July 2 six days after the primary election. She said Reed’s sign was laying on the ground as were signs belonging to Democratic candidates Max Della Pia, Linda Andrei, and a sign reminding voters of the primary date. Sonsire said McCaslin took all of the signs because he thought they were discarded signs from the primary.

In this videos the man is confronted by Reed’s campaign manager, Nick Weinstein, as reported by Fox News:

A video released by Reed’s office shows Reed campaign manager Nicholas Weinstein confronting McCaslin at his house.

“I can’t believe this, Nick. You tracked this sign to my house?” McCaslin says in the video. “Is Tom Reed that desperate that he has to put little things like that inside of a sign and track it?”

Weinstein retrieved the allegedly stolen sign, but McCaslin refused to return the tracking device.

“You found the sign, I’m keeping the tracker — you call the police,” McCaslin says in the video.

McCaslin has been charged with petit larceny, with a court appearance scheduled on July 19, but his attorney, Christina Sonsire, told The Ithaca Journal that he was practicing stewardship when he removed Reed’s sign along with others on July 2, six days after the primary election.

Sonsire also said that an hour after Weinstein left and prior to being charged, McCaslin decided to go to Reed’s congressional office to return the tracker, but was told by the staffers that they wouldn’t accept it.

“There is no factual predicate to show that Gary McGaslin committed a crime,” Sonsire said. “We feel strongly that there was no criminal wrongdoing. This shines a light into just how inappropriate the political climate has become.”

The Reed campaign has distributed images showing McCaslin, a lead organizer of Citizens for a Better Southern Tier, with Tracy Mitrano (on right in image), Reed’s general election opponent.

[Gary McCaslin, a lead organizer of Citizens for a Better Southern Tier, pictured below with Tracy Mitrano at the organization’s protest in Corning][Image and description via Tom Reed campaign]

The campaign ads against Mitrano are practically writing themselves:

[“Extreme Ithaca Liberal” Twitter account profile pic, feat. Tracy Mitrano]