Sean Eldridge, the husband of Facebook mogul and The New Republic owner Chris Hughes, announced Monday that he’s running for Congress. Eldridge is vying for a seat in upstate New York against two-term incumbent Republican Chris Gibson.
In a well-produced three-minute announcement video, Eldridge, a 27-year-old who grew up in Ohio before graduating from Brown University and attending Columbia Law School, speaks at length about his love for New York’s Hudson River Valley and about his venture capital firm, which invests in small businesses there. Despite dwelling on Eldridge’s business and love for his new home in upstate New York at length, the ad didn’t mention was Eldridge’s husband, his sexual orientation or even the slightest hint of the candidate’s longtime advocacy for gay rights and same sex marriage.
As someone who has made his name fighting for gay rights and has been married to another man for over two years, Eldridge can’t exactly go back into the closet. But that is not likely what Eldridge is worried about. Instead, Eldridge seems to be afraid voters won’t vote for a carpetbagger who is trying to buy a seat in Congress.
Eldridge’s residence in the district is a gleaming $2 million modernist house in Shokan, New York, which he and his husband bought in January. He and Hughes also own two other properties. One is a $5 million condo in Soho. The other is an 80-acre estate in Garrison, New York, which is about halfway between Shokan and Soho. The $5 million property as described by the New York Times, has “rolling fields and a farmhouse once owned by a Vanderbilt.” The one thing though that the Garrison estate didn’t have was an address that allowed the young Democratic lawyer to run against an incumbent Republican. The New York Times reported that this forced Eldridge’s January move to Shokan. In February, he formed an exploratory committee for his congressional bid.
The 27-year-old's debut campaign will have many advantages. Eldridge has top political consultants on board, the strong backing of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a rolodex that has enabled him to raise nearly $750,000 already and the deep pockets of his husband, Chris Hughes. But that might not be enough against an incumbent in a swing district that both Barack Obama and George W. Bush won twice.
Then again, if it isn’t, Eldridge can always just buy another house in a different district.