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Tom Reed shelves “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” theme for future reelection bids (#NY23)

Tom Reed shelves “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” theme for future reelection bids (#NY23)

Being an “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” is a state of mind, not a location, but Republican Tom Reed wants to move on despite success of the campaign theme.

Despite a lot of political flim-flam from the Tracy Mitrano campaign, including misleading use of polls to suck over $1 million from area liberals based on the false hope that the race was close, Republican Tom Reed easily won reelection in NY-23.

The district includes ultra-liberal Ithaca and Tompkins County, where there was record turnout mostly for Mitrano, but Reed prevailed by 10 points:

While less than Reed’s 25 point 2014 win, and 15 point 2016 win, this was a decisive victory in a Democrat year that saw other upstate districts (NY-19 and NY-22) flip from red to blue.

The main factor is that while Ithaca liberals tend to dominate media and social media coverage, they are a minority in the district, which is R+6. Outside Ithaca, and a few small pockets of liberal activism, it’s a deep red, rural district.

As discussed here many times, Reed has effectively branded his opponents as “Extreme Ithaca Liberals” whether they were from Ithaca or not. Being an “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” is a state of mind, not a location.

You can view the following posts for more background on Reed’s Extreme Ithaca Liberal campaign theme:

The campaign was used most effectively against Martha Robinson in 2014, who was a top tier DCCC Red-to-Blue candidate, but ended up imploding:


The theme was not used much against former military guy John Plumb in 2016, but was brought out in strength against Mitrano:



It so got under Mitrano’s skin, she even sent a copyright takedown notice trying to get Reed to stop using an image of Mitrano smoking:

After his victory in the 2018 midterms, Reed announced that he was retiring the Extreme Ithaca Liberal campaign theme for the future.

The Ithaca Voice reports:

One of Congressman Tom Reed’s favorite campaign talking points has been to cast his opponents as “Extreme Ithaca Liberals.” One day after winning re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, he has decided to retire the term.

“I’d like to announce today that I will be retiring the ‘Extreme Ithaca Liberal’ label from our campaigns going forward,” Reed said in a media call Wednesday, Nov. 7. “I’ve heard the voice from folks expressing concerns about that, and what I’m going to do in the campaign going forward is retire that label and send the message … that our door is open to anyone who wants to sit down and have a rational conversation, to get to work to solve the problems that we face as a country,” he said….

Reed said in an Oct. 12 interview with the Ithaca Voice that the term “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” had been “effective in describing what I believe we’re standing up against.” He said it referred to an ideology of democratic socialism, not a specific geographic place.

“People ask often, ‘How can you deploy that term?’ I say, for one, I met a lot of folks in the beginning of representing Ithaca and some of them gave me a bumper sticker… ‘Ten square miles surrounded by reality.’ There is a cultural difference, an ideological difference, that is represented by that term that to me is extreme,” Reed said.

A month later, with the 2018 election in the rearview mirror, Reed said on the press call, “Hopefully this gesture will be taken as what it’s intended to be, a good faith extension of an open arm and open hand to say let’s start working together.”

What probably had a big impact on Reed is that his hometown newspaper, The Corning Leader, endorsed Mitrano in part because it didn’t like the Extreme Ithaca Liberal line of attack:

Tom Reed, who has represented the area as both the 29th District representative from 2010-2013 and the redrawn 23rd District from 2013-present, has his own history of name-calling that is not becoming of a four-term Congressman.

We are speaking of his (over) use of the term “Extreme Ithaca Liberal.”

While he has gotten a lot of mileage out of the term, whether his opponent is actually from Ithaca or not – we have grown tired of its usage – especially when the opponent is not from Ithaca.

How can you honestly say you represent everyone in your district, when you openly disrespect any of your constituents?

Reed may also be recognizing that now that Republicans are in the minority in the House, he’ll be in a less powerful position, and depending on who the nominees are in 2016, he may be facing even more competition.

Reed’s team moved quickly. The website already is taken down (partial archive here), as well as the Twitter account. Fortunately, we previously saved many of the images and videos.

“Extreme Ithaca Liberal” – we’re going to miss you.

[Featured Image: Reed campaign video]


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DieJustAsHappy | November 9, 2018 at 3:34 pm

“How can you honestly say you represent everyone in your district, when you openly disrespect any of your constituents?”

Any number of well-known Democrats need to be asked this question. And, if she does indeed run again for the presidency, especially Hillary!

What a shame … those ads were groovy, man.

Celebrate diversity, including: racism, sexism, and political congruence (“=”). Progress.

That said, celebrate individual dignity, not color judgments.

Celebrate life, not selective-child.

Celebrate equality, not selective exclusion.

The expression “extreme liberal” is an oxymoron. Liberalism is, in principle, and in practice, a divergent (e.g. generational) philosophy. Progressivism is monotonic change. Conservatism moderates and retains useful states. Principles matter.

Who is the guy with the freak hat? Unclean.

And what about reverend McCaslin? One could likely go down the Extreme Ithica Liberal memory lane simply by visiting his garage. It would be interesting to see if any of Mitrano’s campaign funds went to his attorneys.