Next Tuesday's Democratic primary heats up
HUDSON--Democrats in Columbia County will have a chance Tuesday, June 26, to help pick one of two candidates as the party's choice to challenge Republican Congressman Chris Gibson in the November contest for the House of Representatives in the 19th Congressional District.
The Democrats in next week's primary are Julian Schreibman of Ulster County and Joel Tyner of Dutchess County. Like Mr. Gibson, a Kinderhook resident, they all live in the newly redrawn district, which covers all or parts of 11 counties from Rensselaer in the northeast to Sullivan in the south and west into Broome and Otsego. All of Columbia County is in the district.
Mr. Schreibman, the former chairman of the Ulster County Democrats, is a lawyer now in private practice. He previously served as an assistant general counsel at the Central Intelligence Agency working on terrorism cases and was later an assistant district attorney in his home county. Mr. Tyner is in his fifth term in the Dutchess County Legislature from Clinton and Rhinebeck and is a certified teacher.
The Democratic committees in many of the counties in the district have endorsed Mr. Schreibman, as has the leadership of the Working Families Party. But Mr. Tyner, who started campaigning for the congressional seat last August, has continued his determined campaign despite the lack of support from party leaders and the big difference in campaign funds, which favors Mr. Schreibman. This week, Mr. Tyner's campaign treasurer resigned.
Regardless of which candidate clinches the nomination, he will face a tough and quite probably an expensive race in the general election. The race has already begun to draw some national attention from Washington groups handicapping the fall election.
The largest concentration of voters in the new district is in Ulster County. That's not part of the 20th District, which Mr. Gibson still represents until the end of this year. And unlike the sizeable enrollment margin the GOP holds in the 20th, the new 19th has a smaller Republican plurality and a large bloc of independent voters not enrolled in any officially recognized party.
Another indicator of the unpredictability of the district is that Congressman Maurice Hinchey, in office since the early 1990s, won as a reliably progressive Democrat in his district despite a deficit of Democratic voters. Mr. Hinchey is not running for reelection and much of the 19th District is made up of parts of his district.
In an interview this week Mr. Tyner, 48, said he believes "People are sick and tired of the same-old, same-old" and that he speaks "truth to power" by demanding a ban of the process of extracting natural gas from the earth by hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," and by seeking a single payer national health plan and a more equitable tax system, among many other causes.
He faults both Republicans and President Obama for proposing cuts to Medicare and says his views as a "populist progressive" will win him votes from both sides of the political spectrum. He dismisses Mr. Schreibman as too closely tied to his party, and he views his disadvantage in fundraising in a positive light, saying, "I'm not taking one teeny, tiny penny from Wall Street or the insurance industry."
As of early this week, he characterized the primary contest as "a horserace." His website is joelforcongress.org.
Attempts to reach Mr. Schreibman this week for comment were unsuccessful. On Monday he debated Mr. Tyner in New Paltz and he did speak briefly with The Columbia paper in Hudson prior to marching in the Flag Day parade earlier this month.
Mr. Schreibman grew up in Ulster County and attended Yale University and Yale Law School. He received the Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award for his work on the prosecution four al Qaeda members convicted of bombing U.S. embassies. He was also a federal prosecutor working on narcotics cases and white collar crime.
On his website and in person Mr. Schreibmen focuses on his positions, contrasting them with Mr. Gibson's, without commenting on the primary. He places "jobs" at the top of his list of priorities and calls for a National Infrastructure Bank to help generate employment by making loans to private industry.
His website julianforny.com.
Polls are open from noon until 9 p.m. on June 26. Only registered Democrats are eligible to vote in the Democratic primary. The winner will appear on the Democratic line on the ballot in the fall.
GOP primary picks Senate candidate
GHENT--There is a Republican primary June 26 for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand. Ms. Gillibrand is seeking reelection.
The three candidates in the race are:
*Wendy Long, a lawyer, former congressional aide
*George Maragos, Nassau County Comptroller and a former financial industry executive
*Congressman Bob Turner, retired broadcast executive and a U.S. Army veteran.
The Columbia County Republican Committee has not formally endorsed a candidate, although several committee members reportedly support Ms. Long and she was the only Senate candidate who spoke to the committee's annual picnic earlier this year.
The polls are open around the county from noon to 9 p.m. Only registered Republicans may vote in the primary.