Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, is ruling our speculation that he might run against Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, saying his only game plan is continuing to represent the constituents of the 19th Congressional District.
“I’m not going to be a candidate for governor,” Gibson told The Daily Star.
He has been mentioned by state GOP Chairman Edward Cox as one of five New York Republicans who could run a competitive race against Cuomo. The Democratic governor won the governor’s office handily in 2010 but whose popularity among voters has declined since he pushed through a controversial gun law in January.
“I’m focused on serving my constituents,” said Gibson, noting he appreciates the compliments and encouragement he has received from Cox and others.
Gibson had told the newspaper two weeks ago that while he wasn’t ruling out a run for governor, he was more focused on his work in Congress.
Following redistricting of all New York congressional seats, Gibson won a second term in Congress last November when he handily defeated Democrat Julian Schreibman of Ulster County. He has vowed to serve no more than 10 years in the House.
His seat is now being eyed by another Democrat, Sean Eldridge, an investment adviser and the husband of wealthy Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, whose net worth has been estimated at more than $500 million.
Using information from an unnamed source said to be close to Cuomo, a blog item in the Albany Times Union last week said the governor has “pledged his full support” to Eldridge should he run for Gibson’s seat.
Eldridge, 26, and Hughes own an estate in Putnam County, which is outside the 19th Congressional, though the potential candidate now lists his address as the Ulster County hamlet of Shokan, which is located in the district.
Gibson brushed off the possibility that Cuomo was targeting him, noting that he captured the new district by more than six percentage points in the same election cycle that President Barack Obama, a Democrat, won the district by more than six points when he defeated GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney.
“He (Cuomo) endorsed my opponent the last time,” said the congressman, a retired U.S. Army colonel and Iraq veteran who holds a doctorate degree in government from Cornell University.