Democratic PAC Takes Aim At 23rd Congressional Seat

By Ryan Whalen 

Early indications are we could have a competitive race in New York’s 23rd Congressional District – at least the House Majority PAC, a Democrat independent expenditure account, seems to believe so.

Late Monday, the PAC announced media buys in seven new markets, including Buffalo and Elmira. It is spending more than $240,000 to reserve TV advertising slots for the final weeks of the election cycle in Republican Rep. Tom Reed’s district.

“From his out-of-touch record in Congress to his full-throated support for Donald Trump, Congressman Reed has every reason to be worried. NY-23 is very much within reach for Democrats this November,” PAC spokesperson Jeb Fain said.

Reed is being challenged by Democrat John Plumb, a naval reserve commander. During the last presidential election cycle, Reed won by only a few percentage points over then-opponent Nate Shinagawa, a former Tompkins County legislator. 

Two years ago though, the congressman shellacked another Democratic opponent, Martha Robertson, another Tompkins County legislator. Reed spokesperson Amy Hasenberg pointed out Robertson was well-supported by the “D.C. establishment” in that race.

She said Reed is seeing even stronger support from his constituents this year. The congressman’s campaign doesn’t seem to be taking this race for granted though, attacking Plumb Monday for repeatedly failing to vote in elections.

“It’s no surprise that Nancy Pelosi’s PAC is trying to save DC John Plumb’s failing campaign. Voters will see through Washington trying to tell them what to think and do,” Hasenberg said.

Plumb’s campaign sees things differently. It believe the candidate is getting outside support because the campaign has momentum.

“They know Commander Plumb has what it takes to protect jobs here in New York while making sure America remains safe from terrorists at home and abroad – unlike Congressman Tom Reed who’s become part of the broken system in Washington that’s left our towns and small communities behind,” campaign manager Jason Robert Henry said.

Republican analyst Vic Martucci said right now the Reed seat has a target on it, but that could change if it becomes clear Donald Trump is doing well in Upstate New York. He said, by the fall, the district could look significantly less winnable for Democrats.

“Keep in mind that it’s early. Priorities can and do change and it’s possible this PAC will cancel the buy and shift resources where they think they have the best chance to win,” GOP analyst Vic Martucci said.

From TWC State of Politics on July 12, 2016.

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