Environmental Defense Fund backs Republican in much-watched NY House race


The Environmental Defense Action Fund, a politically-active nonprofit, has made waves this cycle for trashing Republican Senate challengers in sharply-worded ads. Now, the group is wading into a much-watched congressional race in New York’s 19th District on behalf of Republican incumbent Chris Gibson. EDF’s latest ad praises Gibson for “fighting to stop climate change by preserving common sense limits on air pollution.”

The ad cites four Gibson votes on environmental legislation this year, including one in which the two-term lawmaker was the only member of his party to oppose a measure aimed at barring the Energy Department from studying climate change. Gibson was also the lone Republican House member to oppose a measure to block the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing tougher restrictions on carbon emissions.

Ad documents collected by Political Ad Sleuth show the group has bought $25,000 worth of air time at broadcast stations in Binghamton and Utica. EDAF will run ads there from Thursday through Aug. 20.

The pro-Gibson ad could be a major blow to Sean Eldridge, the Democratic nominee in the race, who has made protecting the environment a key issue for his campaign. HudsonValley.com reported that the rookie House candidate was the beneficiary of a $1,000-and-up reception featuring Natural Resource Defense Council President Francis Beinecke, as well as NRDC trustee Laurence Rockefeller and members of an environmental think tank.

Eldridge, a recent transplant to the district and the husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, hasn’t had much in the way of outside dollars supporting his bid. Gibson was boosted by a $300,000 TV and internet buy from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Eldridge’s campaign has invested nearly $100,000 in ad spots in the Binghamton and Utica markets, securing air time from mid-October until election day, contract documents from TV stations show.

EDAF has reported independent expenditures in Colorado and Iowa — where it ran negative ads against Republican Sen challengers Rep. Cory Gardner, Colo., and Joni Ernst of Iowa respectively. Though contract data from Ad Sleuth shows the group has run non-candidate issue ads in 12 other states this cycle.

Requests for comment to EDAF were not immediately returned. This post will be updated if and when we receive a response.