This past Saturday evening, several of us had a chance to meet congressional candidate Julian Schreibman in Hudson. The “meet & greet” (it was not a fund-raising event) was held in the spacious third-floor gallery of Hudson Wine Merchants on Warren Street; around 40 people were in attendance.

The candidate made a strong, positive impression. He was both personable and pointed, engaging and engaged. Mr. Schreibman, who has been endorsed by the Democratic Party in Greene, Columbia, Ulster and Dutchess Counties, differs from current Congressman Chris Gibson is almost every particular. His progressive views on virtually every major issue (e.g., he is firmly anti-fracking and pro-women’s rights) track closely with those of BlueInGreene’s audience. Yet he has solid establishment credentials, including Yale, Yale Law School, and a stint as Assistant General Counsel at the CIA. In addition, he’s received he Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for assisting in the prosecution of four al Qaeda members for bombing U.S. embassies. All of this should help him in New York State’s newly configured 19th Congressional District.

Julian Schreibman
Photo: Lee Jamison

The Democratic Party recognizes the national importance of the 19th District and believes Schreibman has a genuine chance to unseat Gibson. That’s why he’s earned a spot on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) highly competitive Red-to-Blue program. Of course, the GOP will be pouring money into our district too, in an effort to save Gibson’s seat.

Meanwhile, there is a Democratic primary election coming up on June 26. Joel Tyner, a longtime Dutchess County legislator and teacher, has gathered enough signatures to force a run-off. Schreibman was very diplomatic in describing the situation, and noted that he and Tyner agreed on nearly every issue. But Schreibman’s campaign is serious, and already has serious donors behind it. (Tyner has almost no money, which raises the question of just what he hopes to accomplish in a run-off election.) Tyner’s heart may be in the right place, as Schreibman noted, but he stands little chance in the primary and could be viewed as somewhat bumptious for forcing the issue.

Politics in present-day America requires huge sums of money, a fact we all know and bemoan. Schreibman bemoans it as well, and noted that he needs to raise some $10,000 a day ($1.5 million total) to compete with Gibson. At some point, we progressives need to lead the charge in getting the pernicious influence of money out of politics*. Meanwhile, we should do everything we can to help the Schreibman campaign succeed. It’s critically important, not only for our 19th District, but for the Democrats’ chances of regaining control of the House.

*Please note: voting for Tyner in the primary is not the way to protest the influence of money in politics. A Tyner win would only guarantee victory for Gibson in November.