Thursday, July 11, 2013

Carpetbagging into rural (?) New York

This story in today's New York Times discusses the likely bid of Sean Eldridge for the 19th Congressional District in New York.  Raymond Hernandez reports from Shokan, New York, (population 1,183) that Eldridge and his husband, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, initially bought a $5 million estate in Garrison, New York, east of the Hudson and about 50 miles from New York City.  But when the congressional seat associated with that home appeared unattainable, they crossed the river and came north a bit to buy a $2 million home here, from whence Eldridge has a better shot of getting elected to Congress, from the state's new 19th Congressional district.  Hernandez writes:  
Word of Mr. Eldridge’s political plans has delighted the friends who make up his social circle: Donors to his exploratory committee include George Soros, the billionaire financier, and Sean Parker, the tech entrepreneur behind Napster and Spotify. 
But his ambitions have puzzled some residents among the farmers, mill workers and small-business owners who populate this district, which rises through the Catskills and rolls north through cornfields and apple orchards to the Vermont border. 
Amy Shields, a mother of three children who lives a few miles from Mr. Eldridge, cannot get over the fact that he has just moved into town and is already planning a run for Congress.
Hernandez quotes Shields:  
It’s a little bit presumptuous.  In a community like this you like to know who your neighbors are. Having ties to your neighbors is important. How can he expect to represent people he doesn’t know?
Well stated, I say.  And this is a theme that incumbent Chris Gibson hints at in his comments about a possible race against Eldridge.
There are some things money can't buy.
Hernandez describes 49-year-old Gibson a "well-liked Republican and veteran of the Iraq war who lives in a modest home around the corner from where he grew up."

Hernandez takes up the rural-urban issue more explicitly near the end of the story, noting that while the congressional district has "vast stretches of rural, conservative communities, it is also home to more Democratic-leaning places, like New Paltz and Monticello."  


Robert Ward said...

Glad to see you take note of this story. I'm from Upstate NY and have much more in common politically with Eldridge than Chris Gibson. Still, I can't help but feel that there's something wrong with this.

Maybe it's just parochialism, or maybe it's the money involved. That and the fact that they clearly moved there for the purpose of running for office.

Theo said...