By Robert J. McCarthy
Just five months after the last congressional election, campaign season is on again already with the entrance of the first Democrat to announce a challenge to Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning.
Martha Robertson, chairwoman of the Tompkins County Legislature, will announce her candidacy during a districtwide tour over the next few days -- even though the next election for the House of Representatives will not take place until November of 2014. A Robertson press release said the chairwoman will annoucne her intentions at the Dunkirk boardwalk at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, followed by later events in Jamestown, Olean, Wellsville and Hornell, with other eastern destinations set for Friday.
Reed posted a smaller-than-expected margin of victory last November over Democrat Nate Shinagawa, also a member of the Tompkins County Legislature. The 23rd District, though still predominantly Republican, carries a slightly more Democratic hue these days with the addition of Democratic Ithaca and surrounding Tompkins County.
Robertson is the former director of the President’s Council of Cornell Women, in Alumni Affairs at Cornell University. A Cornell graduate, she has been a teacher, a business owner, and a fundraiser for several not-for-profit organizations.
"A long-time resident and a strong community leader, she has a proven track record of fighting for the needs of her constituents," her press release said. "These events will allow members of the press and the community to hear about her history and accomplishments, the priorities she will champion, and how Congressman Tom Reed is not representing the best interests of the district’s residents."