By Joe Mahoney
The Daily Star
---- — The election season is moving into full gear, and one local contest already getting national attention features the matchup between Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, and Democratic newcomer Sean Eldridge of the Ulster County village of Shokan.
Gibson took a poke at Eldridge on Monday, saying the Democrat's investment in China Petroleum & Chemical Corp."impacts our country's national security" because the firm is a leading buyer of Iranian crude oil.
"The company Sean is invested in provides Iran with continued access to capital and markets in the face of sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies across the world," Gibson said in a release.
The Eldridge campaign mocked the criticism, saying the money their candidate has invested with his husband, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, is in an index fund controlled by a third party.
"Congressman Gibson is so desperate to talk about anything other than his record in Congress that he's trying to peddle the ridiculous — and offensive — theory that the grandson of Holocaust survivors is supporting an anti-Israel Iran," said Eldridge spokeswoman Sophie Friedman.
Eldridge and Gibson are both unopposed in their respective June 24 party primaries. Debates are expected to be scheduled this fall.
Meanwhile, there is now only one Republican challenger to Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, who represents several communities in Otsego County, including Oneonta and Cooperstown. Oneida City Councilor Brahim Zogby has withdrawn his candidacy, throwing his support to Brookfield Supervisor John Salka in the September primary.
Magee is contending with a challenger in the Democratic primary in the person of Sherrill City Commissioner Michael Hennessy. Republicans have a distinct voter enrollment advantage in the district. But Magee has held the seat since January 1991. Hennessy said he challenged the incumbent to debate several weeks ago and continues to wait for a reply.
In a kumbaya moment, the Otsego County Democratic Committee has opted to cross-endorse state Supreme Court Justice Robert C. Mulvey, administrative judge of the 6th Judicial District, a 10-county region that includes Otsego, Delaware and Chenango counties. Mulvey, a Republican, also has the endorsement of the Otsego County GOP.
Otsego County Republicans are also backing Herkimer County Sheriff Chris Farber, who is vying to replace Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, R-New Hartford, in the 101st Assembly District, that includes several towns in Otsego and Delaware counties.
Tenney, a frequent critic of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, and Gov. Andrw Cuomo, is challenging incumbent Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, in the June 24 congressional primary. But if she loses, she has the option of trying to run again for her state legislative seat.
In the congressional race, Tenney has picked up the endorsement of the state Conservative Party, while Hanna is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Two veteran state lawmakers, Sen. James Seward, R-Seward, and Assemblyman Pete Lopez, R-Schoharie, are both running unopposed so far.
The state Board of Elections has set July 7-10 as the dates for filing designating petitions for those seeking state and local elected offices