Why the race has begun
By NORMAN GREEN
I absolutely agree with the Dunkirk OBSERVER’s View (April 13) that it is way too early to start any political campaign that is up for election 19 months from today. That being said, I will explain why the OBSERVER’s conclusion is off target and why it’s correct and smart for the 23rd District’s Congressional Democratic hopeful Martha Robertson to be campaigning today to unseat the man who now sits as our representative.
First, incumbent Congre-ssman Tom Reed has already started fund-raising efforts for the 2014 election. He spent more than $2 million in his 2012 election win and probably is hoping to match that sum. To keep pace with Reed, Tompkins County Legislature Chairwoman Martha Robertson will need to raise more than $105,000 per month.
Second, Reed has been flooding the district at taxpayer expense with mailings disguised as constituent outreach efforts. The franking privileges of our incumbent congressman provides a huge advantage and unfair head start in a political campaign. Only an announced candidate can rightfully call Reed out on this and other issues of importance to Chautauqua County voters.
Third, the 23rd Congres-sional district is huge and runs more than 200 miles by car. It takes four hours to drive from one end of the district to the other. Amazingly, our district is bigger than some states. For example, Robertson will be traveling to the Chautauqua County Democratic Committee Banquet on May 2 in Jamestown and it will take her an entire day of travel to attend this one important event where she will introduce herself to the party faithful.
Finally, the New York State Senate continues to stubbornly refuse movement of the local and state September political primary elections to coincide with the current New York federal June primary date. Word out of Albany is no deal from the Republican Senate leadership on combining these two dates and saving state taxpayers $50 million in unneeded duplicated expense. Petitions for any June primary and political designations will happen in March 2014. Now is certainly not too early to be asking leaders of the five major parties for political support.
In conclusion, the Chautauqua County Democratic committee welcomes the timely entrance of Martha Robertson into the congressional race. She is experienced, qualified and if nominated by our party, will be the first rate candidate that voters deserve.
Norman P. Green is the Chautauqua County Democratic Committee chair.