As Election Day inches closer, both local Republicans and Democrats are gearing up for November 6th.
Ithaca Now spoke with Jim Gustafson, representative from the Tompkins County Democratic Committee, and Henry Kramer, representative from the Tompkins County Republican Party Counsel, on how both parties are preparing for state and national elections this November.
As both parties begin to canvas the county, activate their social media platforms and set up phonebanking events to nearby swing states, the Tompkins County Republicans and Democrats are placing heavy emphasis on the Congressional race for the newly reformed 23rd District — particularly as recent redistricting has reduced the number of New York districts from 29 to 27.
The Republican Party Counsel has set up headquarters in Dryden, Newfield and Lansing — areas where a majority of Republicans live in Tomkins County, Kramer said. For the Republican Party Counsel, he said his party is not only working to advance Mitt Romney’s campaign but also promote incumbent Tom Reed.
“We’re not giving up anything,” Kramer said. “Tom Reed has told me that he’s going to campaign in Tompkins County; he’s going to campaign in the City of Ithaca. We’re not conceding an inch of the district.”
Meanwhile, the Tompkins County Democrats are hosting their own debate watching parties and campaigning for Ithaca resident Nate Shinagawa, who faces Reed in the race for the 23rd Congressional district.
Henry Kramer on why the Tompkins County Republicans are confident in Tom Reed’s reelection to the newly reformed 23rd Congressional District:
“Tompkins County for the first time in many, many decades — all of Tompkins County — will be represented by the same person in Congress. That hasn’t happened in a very long time. The district that Reed will be running in stretches all the way from Lake Erie now to Tompkins County, which is on the eastern most portion of the new district. Tompkins used to be spread partly between Ithaca all the way over to Poughkeepsie on the east, so that’s a major change. The new district has a Republican majority, so we’re quite confident about Tom Reed.”
Jim Gustafson on how Democrat- learning New York should help Nate Shinagawa win the 23rd District:
“We’re very confident we’re going to win New York state. You should never take anything for granted, but we’re quite confident about that. We do feel that the margin by which President Obama will win New York state should help with Nate Shinagawa’s races, as well as other Congressional races. We’re going to hope to tie those two campaigns together.”
Kramer on how the state redistricting is impacting the 2012 campaigns:
“We’re encouraged by the shift in the Congressional district, of course because it has a Republican majority in the registration. Those of us who lived in Tompkins County in the western part of the county, which has been represented by Maurice Hinchey, probably will find that quite a considerable change. It is encouraging Republicans throughout the county that we are now part of a larger area, which is much more likely to produce elected Republicans.”
Gustafson on how the state redistricting is impacting the 2012 campaigns:
“In 2008, if you look at the new Congressional district, Barack Obama beat John McCain in that district by a few hundred votes. While the registration is somewhat in favor of Republicans, Republicans in upstate New York are still politically more moderate than they are in some other parts of the country. They oftentimes will cross party lines, and then there’s a large Independent vote.