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March 31, 2010

Vets For Congress…Chris Gibson In The NY 20th

When last we left the NY 20th congressional district, the Republicans waged and lost a lackluster campaign to replace Kirsten Gillibrand, who had just been named to the US Senate to replace Hillary Clinton.

One of the biggest differences in that race was candidate selection. The Republican establishment picked one of their own, a long serving state assemblyman who was all about old style bringing back the bacon type politics. It took him two weeks to announce how he would have voted on the so-called “stimulus” bill, even knowing all Republicans in the House had voted against it months earlier.

Well this time the county organizations went a different way and selected a novice politician and recently retire US Army Colonel, Chris Gibson.

Based on his kickoff speech, he’s just about everything a conservative could hope for.

(Sorry about the shaky video in parts, the AoS video budget is not close to the RNC bondage club budget)

A couple of notes from being on scene (yeah, I schlepped down there just for this)…

Gibson cuts a very impressive figure as you’d expect from someone who rose to the rank of Colonel in the Army. At the same time, he walked into the room and no one seemed to notice it was him (he was at the drink table alone). It actually struck me as a kind of nice combination. At these events there’s always a bunch of hangers on around the candidate. They were there, just not attached to him like a remora to a shark. It was refreshing.

He’s definitely an outside candidate but it will be interesting to see how much that plays out because Scott Murphy was a neophyte when he won election less than a year ago. It may cancel out or Murphy’s year in office and his health care flip may be enough to paint him as a deal making insider.

As I said, Gibson has the presence you’d expect in an Army Colonel and speaks well. He was a little too dependent on talking points in answering a few questions but you can either look at that as being on message or something he will become more comfortable with as the campaign progresses. He’s been at this less than a month after all.

One question that was asked focused on campaign financing. Murphy has raised about a million dollars and I’d imagine Pelosi will be helping to steer some cash his way after he was a good boy and voted with her. Gibson said his first finance report will show a credible amount raised and that he expects support from inside and outside (that’s us) the district. Here’s the website with a donation page if you are so inclined.

A bit of good news…there were several other candidates vying for the nod , including one with ties to the local tea party group. All have agreed to back Gibson, so there shouldn’t be any third party problems.

Overall first impression…thank God they picked this guy. Yeah, he’s a little rough around the edges as a politician but that will improve in time. Most importantly he did not equivocate on who his inspirations are, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Solomon (who represented a good part of this district for years) or what he believes in. While he didn’t say ‘repeal’, he made it clear the health care law is a bad deal that has to be replaced. He repeatedly came back to the themes that regulation and taxation are the enemies of prosperity and spoke openly about the need to limit government in peoples’ lives.

What a difference a year makes. What a difference a candidate who believes in something makes. While the district should be welcoming to a guy like Gibson (it’s R+2), it’s still going to be a tough fight. I hope he wins it.

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posted by DrewM. at 06:00 PM

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