Democrat Sean Eldridge, the partner of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, announced Sunday that he will challenge Republican Rep. Chris Gibson for the House seat in New York's 19th district.
Eldridge made his entrance into the race with a video posted to his campaign website. He announces his devotion for the Hudson Valley region, where he and Hughes purchased a house last year, and pledges to fight "the special interests and party politics," that have led to gridlock in Washington.
"We need an independent voice who will fight for us and that's why I'm running for Congress," he says. "Instead of looking out for wall street and big oil, we need Washington to help our small businesses and our family farms." The 27-year-old investor, who is the president of Hudson River Ventures, touts his work helping local companies and founding the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center at SUNY New Paltz.
The 19th district covers the northern Hudson Valley and the Catskills. It was a split district in the 2012 election: President Obama beat former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 52 percent to 46 percent, but Gibson, the incumbent, defeated Democratic challenger and former CIA lawyer Julian Schreibman by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent. Gibson was first elected in 2010 when he challenged Democrat Scott Murphy, who had replaced Kirsten Gillibrand when she was elected to the Senate.
Eldridge's wealth will almost certainly make the race competitive. According to the Albany Times Union, Hughes has already invested $215,000 in the campaign. The pair married last year, and Eldridge has worked to meet local political leaders and raise his profile since moving there, the paper reported.