Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, officially has a challenger.
Sean Eldridge, a wealthy investor and husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, formally launched his long-anticipated 2014 congressional campaign late Sunday with a three-minute video posted on his website just after 10 p.m.
Eldridge, a Democrat, had been exploring a challenge to Gibson after purchasing a $2 million home in Shokan, Ulster County, earlier this year.
“I have been very blessed in my life,” Eldridge says in the launch video. “I am proud to live in the greatest state in the greatest country on earth. I’m running for Congress, because I know that we can do better.”
With an Eldridge run already widely anticipated, the National Republican Campaign Committee had previously targeted the newly announced candidate, funding a web ad that paints him as “out of touch” and accuses him of trying to “buy a congressional seat.”
Eldridge is no stranger to New York politics. He hosted fundraisers for Gov. Andrew Cuomo during his time on the campaign trail in 2010, and he spent heavily on efforts to enact campaign-finance reform during the 2012 election cycle.
Gibson was first elected to office in 2010. He represents the 19th congressional district, which includes Ulster and part of Dutchess counties, stretching north into the Capital Region and west into the Southern Tier.
UPDATED: Stephanie Valle, a Gibson spokeswoman, said Eldridge’s entry in the race “comes as no surprise.”
“He purchased a multimillion dollar home in our district in January, filed to run for Congress in February, and then cleared up his voter registration problems a few months later,” Valle said in a statement. “He’s been raising money from wealthy friends while at the same time touting an economic plan that boils down to loaning his potential constituents money. One thing is clear – this race will test the hypothesis of whether Congressional seats can be bought.”
Here’s Eldridge’s video, as posted on his new campaign website: