The 20th Congressional District contains all or parts of 10 counties, holding 455,000 registered voters. Republicans outnumber Democrats, about 192,000 to 117,00. That leaves around 150,000 unaffiliated or third-party voters.
Money has been a central topic of the race in the 20th District, with the two candidates raising more than $11 million as of the middle of October. Sandy Treadwell’s campaign has outspent Kirsten Gillibrand’s, approximately $5.6 million to $3.6 million.
Kirsten Gillibrand is the Democrat incumbent, and will also be appearing on the Working Families Party line.
This election marks the end of her first term in Congress. She defeated John Sweeney in 2006 as the Republican became mired in a number of controversies, and captured 56 percent of the vote.
Gillibrand currently resides in Greenport with her husband and two children, aged four years and four months. Before entering political life she worked as a lawyer, earning her law degree at the University of California at Los Angeles Law School. She also worked as special counsel to the secretary of housing and urban development Andrew Cuomo during the Clinton administration.
She has been running a campaign based on her record. Gillibrand says she has made good progress for a freshman congresswoman, pointing to a 2007 farm bill that she called the best farm bill in the history of upstate New York. She also feels that she has kept in contact with her constituency, holding 50 `Congress on Your Corner` events across the district.
Like many, Gillibrand sees taxes as placing a burden on her constituents. She would be in favor of a millionaire’s tax, saying that it would raise around $600 billion to provide relief for middle class families.
She was one of the few New Yorkers to have a direct say on the recent $700 billion bailout package, and she voted against both versions, saying it did not provide adequate oversight and regulation.
`The next step is to have an economic stimulus package that creates jobs,` she said. Part of that package will be for infrastructure improvements, possibly a light rail along I-87.
`We need to make sure that as we create these new jobs that we allow our infrastructure to grow at the same rate,` said Gillibrand at a Tuesday, Oct. 28, debate.
Alexander `Sandy` Treadwell is the Republican Party nominee, and will also be appearing on the Independence and Conservative Party lines of the ballot.
Treadwell resides in Lake Placid along with his wife. His two children are grown. He is the holder of a blind trust fund largely provided by his grandfather, a General Electric executive. According to the most recent report from the Federal Election Commission, he had contributed $5.9 million to his own campaign. He has said he will not accept pay if elected.
Treadwell’s political experience mainly stems from his time serving as New York Secretary of State, a post he held from 1995 to 2001. He then served as chairman of the New York Republican State Committee until November 2004.
In the race’s final debate, Treadwell said that in his secretary of state post, he worked as a link to local government, and he would act in the same capacity from Washington.
`I think it prepares me to be your next congressman,` he said.
He also said that he didn’t play partisan games in that position, and considers himself an independent voice.
`I crossed party lines and worked for everyone, and I will do the same in congress,` he said.
One way he would combat the growing deficit in New York and other states would be to bring a moratorium against earmarks, a measure Treadwell claims would free up $20 billion that would be distributed among the states. That would net New York $1.28 billion. Gov. David Paterson recently estimated that the state deficit will grow to $47 billion over the next four years.
Treadwell has said that he would have voted against the bailout bill as well and criticized Congress for not taking more time to refine it.
`This was a bad bill when Congress first voted on it,` he said, calling the bailout a `gamble, and a risk.“