A lot of North Country In Box readers won’t have had the opportunity to get to know Chris Gibson, the Republican former Army officer from the Hudson Valley who defeated Glens Falls Democrat Scott Murphy in 2010.
Gibson represented the old NY-20 district, a madly gerrymandered chunk of political turf that stretched from Poughkeepsie to Saranac Lake.
Through the couple of years that I interacted with him, I found Gibson to be one of the most intelligent, interesting, nuanced thinkers in Congress.
He’s conservative, but not ideologically rigid. He often spoke passionately in favor of bipartisanship and compromised, and even praised President Barack Obama.
Redistricting has carved Gibson out of the North Country, where his re-election would have been a slam-dunk.
His chunk of our region has now been lumped into the NY-21 district which is being battled over by Rep. Bill Owens (D) and challenger Matt Doheny (R).
Gibson finds himself now living in the NY-19 district, which has far more of a Democratic tilt than the old NY-20 district.
He’ll now face Julian Schreibman, the moderate Democrat who edged out a more liberal contender in yesterday’s primary. Schreibman is seen as a rising star in his party and will have major backing from Washington DC.
This should be a ferocious political contest and it will be interesting to see if Gibson’s right-tilting brand of politics will play in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills as well as it played in the North Country.
In that part of New York state, where Cuomo and Obama are still popular, Gibson may find himself battling against the ideological image of the GOP, and Congress’s brutally low popularity.
If he doesn’t prevail, this may be one of those cases across the country where redistricting cuts short an otherwise bright and promising career.