By JOE MAHONEY
The Daily Star
---- — COOPERSTOWN — Although Democrat Sean Eldridge’s camp says he is only considering a run for Congress, he is already outpacing Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, in the race for campaign dollars, at least in the first quarter of this year.
Eldridge, from the Ulster County hamlet of Shokan, collected $311,000 through March 31, while Gibson came up with $131,000 during the same the period, according to their campaign finance reports.
Eldridge is married to the wealthy co-founder of Facebook, Chris Hughes, who gave his husband $2,600, the maximum allowed for an individual donor, said an Eldridge spokesman.
The Eldridge camp was actively spreading information about the fundraising numbers Friday to upstate media outlets in an apparent attempt to show that the possible candidate can raise the money needed to wage a competitive race against Gibson.
But Gibson spokeswoman Stephanie Valle questioned the significance of the contrasting totals for an election that is more than 18 months away.
“What Mr. Eldridge raises is really irrelevant when he has a near-billion-dollar fortune, as evidenced by his January purchase of a $2 million home in our district to pretend he has local roots,” Valle said. “As we have for the last two election cycles, we will raise what we need to win.”
Gibson, in recent interviews, has batted down speculation that he might challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, saying he is focused on doing his job as the representative of New York’s 19th Congressional District.
On Saturday, according to a media release, Gibson is scheduled to speak in Cooperstown at a ceremony honoring the legacy of Bud Fowler, the first African American to play organized professional baseball. Fowler died in 2013.
Gibson has submitted remarks to the Congressional Record honoring Fowler.