Sean Eldridge, a wealthy investor who recently moved to the 19th Congressional District, announced Monday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for the House seat now occupied by Rep Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook.
Eldridge, 27, the president of Hudson River Ventures and the husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, said in a statement that he will “fight for common sense solutions to grow our economy and create good jobs.”
“Right now the voices of everyday New Yorkers are being drowned out by the special interests and party politics causing gridlock in Washington,” Eldridge said in a video posted on his campaign web site. “We need an independent voice who will stand up to Big Oil and Big Banks and fight for middle-class families.”
Gibson, a 49-year-old decorated combat veteran, won his second term in Congress last year, defeating lawyer Julian Schreibman of Stone Ridge, Ulster County. The Republican’s victory in the realigned district came in the same election cycle when President Barack Obama, a Democrat, drew many more votes from the same pool of voters than Republican Mitt Romney.
In his announcement, Eldridge said he has stood with Planned Parenthood as an advocate for abortion rights and women’s health care.
The Gibson camp shrugged off Eldridge’s announcement, which was forecast last month by The Daily Star.
“He’s been raising money from wealthy friends while at the same time touting an economic plan that boils down to loaning his potential constituents money,” said Gibson campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Valle. “One thing is clear — this race will test the hypothesis of whether Congressional seats can be bought. Frankly, if he needed to introduce himself to voters, there was no need to spend more of his money creating a new website and video.”
She also portrayed Eldridge as a carpetbagger whose interest in attaining public office has gotten off to a bumpy start, saying: “He purchased a multimillion dollar home in our district in January, filed to run for Congress in February, and then cleared up his voter registration problems a few months later.”