WASHINGTON – Even though the next Federal Election is still more than 15 months away, at least one person has already come forward to challenge Tom Reed (R-Corning) for his seat representing New York’s 23rd Congressional District.
Earlier this month, Randolph, NY native and U.S. Navy Reserve commander John Plumb (D-Lakewood) announced his intention to run for Congress on the Democratic ticket.
In a media release announcing his candidacy, the 45 year-old Plumb said he’s heard from too many families who feel Washington isn’t listening to the rural communities of Western New York, with the middle class and working families find it harder and harder to get ahead.
Plumb, who grew up in the area and graduated from Randolph in 1988, resigned in May as director for defense policy and strategy at the White House National Security Council to run full-time for Congress. It’s been reported that he has since set up a residence in Lakewood, just prior to announcing his candidacy.
WRFA has reached out to Plumb to get more specific details about his running for election, including his platform and his strategy for challenging an entrenched opponent in a largely Republican district, but his campaign has said he is unable to talk with us at this time and could not provide a timeline on exactly when the candidate would be available.
REED WELCOMES CHALLENGER
Meanwhile, Congressman Reed has offered his initial thoughts on the first challenger of the 2016 campaign. During a conference call with local media earlier this month, Reed said that while he doesn’t know too much about Plumb right now, he’s confident the differences between him and the Democratic challenger will come to light as we get closer to November 2016.
“Mr. Plumb apparently is coming from the mindset that there is unlimited pots of money in Washington, D.C. and will continue to carry on his boss’s – president Obama – work of raising the deficit; the debt can be an unlimited albatross on the backs of the taxpayers of the 23rd district along with their kids and their grand kids. I think that that’s going to be a clear contradiction between the two of us,” Reed said.
Reed also said that even though he’s focused on representing his constituents, he’s also aware that he’ll have to focus on running for reelection, although that probably won’t begin until the late spring of 2016.
“this is democracy and people have the right to choose, and I agree with that,” Reed said. “It’s fundamentally up to the people to decide. Plumb is the first opponent and I’m sure there may be others who are contemplating it on the Democratic side and are likely to get into the race between now and then. My focus is obviously to do the job I was sent by the voters to Washington D.C. to do, and that’s to fight for them day-in and day-out while we’re in office.”
As for Plumb, he’s already received endorsement from several Democratic leaders, including Chautauqua County Democratic Committee Chairman Norman Green and the Tompkins County Democratic Committee on the eastern side of the district, where Reed’s last two Democratic challengers – Nate Shinagowa (2012) and Martha Robertson (2014) had hailed from.