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GOP Starts Early Campaign Against Potential Congressional Candidate

DonkeyHotey, flickr

There are new Republican websites featuring the name of a potential Democratic contender for a congressional race in New York — but that potential candidate hasn’t announced a campaign.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has launched two websites along with a paid campaign highlighting a Democrat who has not officially announced a run in the 19th congressional district 2014 race against Republican Chris Gibson. Ian Prior is a spokesman for the NRCC.

And, according to Prior, here’s the message.

Marc Brumer is a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He calls the Republican websites distractions.

Eldridge, an Ulster County resident, is the founder of Kingston-based Hudson River Ventures, a small business investment fund focused on the Hudson Valley. He is married to Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.

The barbs assailing the other party’s candidate, or potential candidate, fly from both sides, as is usual in the months – or in this case more than one year - leading up to an election. The DCCC criticizes Gibson for votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and privatize Social Security, and faults him for sequester cuts, among several other issues. The NRCC, meanwhile, is trying to paint Eldridge as an out-of-touch elitist, with enough funds to purchase houses wherever he wants to run for office. Gibson, a retired Army Colonel, resides in Columbia County, around the corner from his childhood home.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner headlined a fundraiser for Gibson earlier this month in Sullivan County. The event raised more than $100,000 for Gibson’s 2014 reelection campaign, with 90 percent of the attendees from Gibson’s district, which stretches across 11 counties. Invitations to the fundraiser were accompanied by a letter from Gibson citing a potential challenge from Eldridge. The letter said the funds would help Gibson rebut the negative attacks that are coming and win decisively again. On the night of the fundraiser, Gibson, who is in his second term, said he needed to raise the funds to be able to compete with a much wealthier opponent.

A second quarter report filed in mid-July with the Federal Election Commission showed fundraising for the Kingston-based Sean Eldridge for Congress Committee totaling nearly $437,000, $215,000 of which Eldridge contributed himself, matching individual donations. Gibson, in his second quarter filing, showed a total raised of slightly more than $318,000. Of this, more than $204,000 is from PACs, or political action committees. None of Eldridge’s campaign funds is from PACs, and a spokesman for Eldridge says he will not accept contributions from corporate PACs should he decide to run.

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