WENY: 23rd District gearing up for 2014 Midterm race

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Continuing coverage now of the preparations for the 2014 midterm elections.

Out of the dozen congressional districts the Lilly Broadcasting Washington Bureau covers, only one of them has a declared opponent so far, the race for New York’s 23rd Congressional District.

Just five months after Republican Congressman Tom Reed was reelected, Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson, a Democrat, threw her hat into the 2014 race.

“Congressman Reed is clearly vulnerable. He narrowly won his election in 2012, and his priorities haven’t gotten any better,” said Jesse Ferguson, deputy executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

He said the race for New York’s 23rd district is one of 52 House races across the country where he thinks Democrats have a shot at beating an incumbent Republican.

“We have a candidate, somebody with a record of delivering for the district, somebody whose focus is very local, someone who’s known, and somebody voters can trust who’s looking out for them,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson doesn’t think moderate Republicans and independents, who he says will be key in 2014, are buying what Reed is selling.

“They don’t believe his priorities reflect the values of the district, and that makes him vulnerable,” he said.

But ask the National Republican Congressional Committee, and you get the total opposite response.

“Congressman Reed is somebody who’s not afraid to vote with his district, if that means bucking his party at times,” said Ian Prior, of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Rep. Reed is an independent voice who represents that district well.”

Prior said the GOP is confident in Reed, and that Robertson is the one who doesn’t fit the district.

“Martha Roberston is someone who represents that far-left wing of the Democratic party,” Prior said.

So is Reed’s seat really in jeopardy?

The independent, non-partisan Cook Political Report is currently rating 71 “competitive” House races as likely Democratic, leans Democratic, Democratic toss-up, Republican toss-up, leans Republican, and likely Republican. New York’s 23rd district is in the “leans Republican” column.

But in the world of politics, things can change in an instant.

“We don’t take any race for granted, and we’re going to provide Congressman Reed with all the help he needs,” Prior said.

While the outcome is still unknown, one thing’s for certain, these candidates have a lot of support from the big wigs in Washington.

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