Or, to be more precise, by about one point for about every $40 million that the Democratic candidate, political activist Sean Eldridge, and his husband, early Facebook employee Chris Hughes, are worth. Eldridge, who moved to New York’s 19th congressional district last January, is trying to unseat Republican congressman Chris Gibson, which should in theory be a possibility, since it’s rated a D+1 district (as in, just barely more favorable to Democrats than Republicans — the district runs up the Hudson River).
But Eldridge, who has raised about $3 million for the effort to Gibson’s $2.2 million, isn’t really within striking distance. An early-August poll had him losing 56 percent to 29 percent, and a Siena College poll released yesterday suggests the race hasn’t changed — Gibson leads Eldridge 57 percent to 33 percent, a 24-point gap, among likely voters.
It won’t just be whatever Eldridge and Hughes (who recently purchased The New Republic) spend on electioneering that looks to be going down the drain, too. As the New York Times’ Ray Hernandez recounted in a deliciously headlined A1 story last summer, “Young, Rich and Relocating Yet Again in Hunt for Political Office,” they bought one multimillion dollar house in another Hudson Valley congressional district; when they realized the politics there weren’t favorable enough there, they bought a $5 million house in Gibson’s district. (It is a lovely area of the state, though.)
It’s not hard to see the appeal of Gibson, 50 years old and a two-term congressman. He’s leading Eldridge by six points for each Bronze Star the former earned as a U.S. Army paratrooper, by 3.4 points for each deployment he did overseas, by eight points for every Cornell graduate degree he holds, or by twelve points for each democratic election he helped protect as the commander of an 82nd Airborne Division battalion. Eldridge, 28, has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Brown.