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November 1, 2012

Gibson, Schreibman battle to the finish

COOPERSTOWN — Jobs, women’s health care, Medicare and energy — the same issues in the forefront in the race for the White House — have also taken center stage in the battle for New York’s new 19th Congressional District, pitting Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, against Democrat Julian Schreibman.

After months of slogging it out on the campaign trail and meeting three times for debates, both candidates are spending the dwindling number of days before Election Day next Tuesday, crisscrossing the largely rural district and trying to make a positive impression on the shrinking number of voters who remain undecided.

It’s a tight race — and voters who have not yet made up their minds could have a crucial impact.

A new poll from Siena College this week puts Schreibman within striking distance of GIbson — with the latter leading 48 percent to 43 percent — after the Democrat unleashed a a barrage of negative television ads at the incumbent, who carries not only the GOP line, but is also backed by the Independence and Conservative parties.

The newly redrawn district includes parts of the territory represented by Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, who is not seeking re-election. It will also include much of the southernmost part of the district currently represented by Gibson. It would also wrap in Schoharie County, which is currently represented by Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, and portions of Otsego County now represented by Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld.

In an interview Wednesday, Gibson told The Daily Star he believes he has greater strength than the five-point lead Siena gave him in the survey of likely voters. But he conceded that Schreibman, who is also backed by the Working Families Party, has picked up some steam as a result of resorting to what the congressman argued are “false” ads.

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