Above: A video produced by Sean Eldridge's campaign, announcing the 27-year-old Democrat's bid for New York State's 19th Congressional district. Source: Eldridge's campaign website.
With the release of a campaign video Sunday, 27-year-old Democrat Sean Eldridge officially joined the 2014 race for New York's 19th Congressional District, currently represented by Republican Chris Gibson.
The video highlights Eldridge's support of the local business community through Hudson River Ventures, an investment firm Eldridge founded in 2011.
"I love the Hudson Valley," Eldridge says in the video. "It's where I’m building my family, my home, and my business. Right now the voices of everyday New Yorkers are being drowned out by the special interests and party politics causing gridlock in Washington. We need an independent voice who will fight for us. And that’s why I’m running for Congress."
Eldridge, who is married to Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes, filed papers in preparation for the run in February, not long after the couple closed on a house in the 19th District, a $2 million Modernist two-bedroom overlooking the Ashokan Reservoir in Shokan. Before settling in Shokan, the couple split their time between a SoHo loft and an 80-acre estate in Garrison -- in the Congressional district formerly represented by Tea Party Republican Nan Hayworth, a district Eldridge reportedly considered running for before Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney made a successful bid for the seat.
The race is shaping up to be a hard-fought one. The 19th District, redrawn along with the rest of New York's Congressional districts in 2012 by a panel of federal judges, is fairly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, with a slight Republican edge. In 2012, the district went for Barack Obama in the presidential election, but voted decisively for Gibson, an incumbent whose previous territory had leaned much more Republican.
Eldridge's youth, wealth and district-hopping -- not to mention his high-profile same-sex marriage -- make him an obvious target for GOP efforts to paint him as a carpetbagger. The National Republican Congressional Committee has registered a spoof website for Eldridge's campaign, seaneldridgeforcongress2014.com, on which Eldridge is mercilessly lampooned:
Sean is hoping that this run will propel him to greater things and that when he is old enough to be a Senator there will be an opening in New York or another state in which he could lay down some more of his roots and buy another mansion.
So far, it's Gibson's race to lose. But in a district that includes a hefty chunk of left-wing lion Maurice Hinchey's former territory, Eldridge seems likely to at least give Gibson a run for his money.
For our part, here at the geographically-biased Watershed Post, we hope Eldridge starts talking about the Catskills sometime soon. (Shokan is in the Hudson Valley? Really?)