U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson and his challenger, Julian Schreibman, both released their first TV ads last week, with each man touting his background and Schreibman going after Gibson’s record.
Schreibman, a Democrat, is tough on crime in a spot titled “The Prosecutor” that focuses on his time as a federal prosecutor and senior assistant district attorney in Ulster County.
“As a prosecutor, Julian Schreibman convicted drug dealers; he put violent criminals behind bars. Now he’ll fight for us,” the voice-over says. He targets Gibson’s policies and votes, especially coming down hard on his opponent’s views about Medicare.
Gibson, a Republican, plays up his military service, which included four combat tours in Iraq in the Army, and his family background, including shots of his wife, children and his mother.
“He moved from one service to another form of service,” his wife, Mary Jo Gibson, tells the camera, referring to Gibson serving as congressman. The ad also emphasizes that Gibson values job creation, tax reform, regulatory relief and lowering health care costs.
Both ads will be airing in the redrawn 19th Congressional District, which includes most of the Hudson Valley and Catskills. It includes Schoharie County and the western half of Montgomery County, as well as all or part of the counties of Rensselaer, Columbia, Green, Otsego, Dutchess, Ulster, Delaware, Sullivan and Broome. In the redistricting, Gibson lost Saratoga, Washington, Warren and Essex counties that had been part of the 20th CD.
Schreibman, 40, lives in Stone Ridge with his wife, Shannon, and three young sons.
Gibson lives in Kinderhook and has two daughters and a son.
Gibson, who is serving his first two-year term as congressman, has been visiting the areas in his redrawn district, said campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Valle.
“I think he’s visited all but 10 towns in the new 19th Congressional District,” she said. “He’s been very pleased with the reception he’s gotten.”
Medicare seems to be the hottest issue in the race so far. Schreibman has blasted Gibson’s vote in 2011 for the budget crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan.
“They want to replace the guaranteed benefit for seniors and instead give them coupons that, over time, will get them less and less of the health care that they need,” a statement on his campaign website says.
Gibson denies that the GOP plan would destroy Medicare — just the opposite. “What ends Medicare is the status quo,” a statement sent out by his campaign states. That plan would save Medicare for future generations, he said.
Schreibman said as he travels around the district, he meets people who are upset with Gibson’s stance on Medicare and believe he is aligned with tea party politics.
“Instead, they are looking for a congressman who will refocus our priorities back on creating middle-class jobs and growing our economy,” he said.
Gibson denied he’s in line with the tea party, citing a Washington Post ranking that lists him as the third most independent Republican in the House of Representatives.
Valle said Gibson has been “disappointed” in the tone his opponent has taken. “He’s proud of his record and he thinks it’s a record that matches the district.”
If elected to a second term, Gibson has promised to fight for economic growth and repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul plan.
He currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the Agriculture Committee and the Policy Committee.
The Democratic challenger lists job creation, retirement security, women’s health, tax fairness and natural resources as his biggest priorities, all areas where he says he differs with Gibson.
In particular, he wants to roll back the tax cuts for the wealthy that were put in place under former President George W. Bush. And he opposes hydraulic fracturing to remove natural gas from the earth.
Schreibman has received the support from several unions.
He grew up in Kingston in Ulster County and graduated from Yale and Yale Law School. Schreibman worked as an assistant general counsel at the CIA, where he received the attorney general’s Distinguished Service Award for helping prosecute four al-Qaeda members who bombed U.S. embassies.
Then he moved back to upstate New York in 2007 and became senior assistant district attorney in Ulster County. Now Schreibman is a partner in the law firm Wachtel Masyr & Missry.
Gibson, 48, grew up in Columbia County and graduated from Siena College.
He holds a master’s degree and doctoral degree from Cornell University and taught at West Point during his 24-year career in the U.S. Army. Gibson also served as a Congressional Fellow with U.S. Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., and completed a Hoover National Security Affairs Fellowship at Stanford University.