With less than seven months to go until Election Day, the New York state District 23 Congressional race between candidates Tom Reed and Martha Robertson is getting heated.
As of Wednesday, Robertson, D-Dryden, had raised more than $325,000 in the first-quarter of the year, bringing her campaign total to more than $1 million.
Representatives for Congressman Reed, R-Corning, said numbers would not be available until this week, when first quarter reports are due to be filed with the Federal Election Commission.
However, petitions were filed Tuesday after Reed's campaign collected enough signatures to secure the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines.
Robertson has secured the Working Families and Democratic party lines.
Robertson, who is chair of the Tompkins County Legislature, has focused her campaign on clean energy and what she calls "investing in the middle class," while Reed said during a recent campaign tour of local businesses that his main focus is jobs.
"The No. 1 issue is how we are going to create jobs today for tomorrow," he said, further stating that he does not agree with his opponent's view that the biggest focus for Congress should be global warming.
"We're going to keep fighting for the future," Reed continued. "We don't care who gets the credit, as long as the job gets done."
Robertson said Reed has relied on corporate money from Washington to raise campaign funds, and further alleged that he was being investigated by the House Ethics Committee regarding the continued use of his name on a law firm, which violates House rules.
"There is no investigation," said Katherine Pudwill, Reed's communications director. "Tom's attorneys proactively reached out to the Ethics Committee immediately after he took his oath, and have again gone to the Office of Congressional Ethics to ensure everything is taken care of properly."
Robertson then said that before going to the polls, voters deserve to know exactly what ethical issues and possibly legal issues their congressman may be facing.
On Wednesday, a federal budget blueprint proposed by Republicans had Robertson up in arms, after it proposed spending cuts and elimination of health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. It also promised a balanced budget by 2024.
"The working families of the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes Region and Western New York deserve better than the budget released by Congressman Tom Reed's Republican colleagues," Robertson said. "We must balance the budget and reduce the deficit, but we cannot do it on the backs of the hardworking middle class and our seniors. It is extremely hypocritical that Congressman Reed and his Republican colleagues are working to raise taxes on middle class families, even though Reed has failed to pay his taxes on time 39 times."
A rebuttal from Pudwill said the financial well-being of families is something Reed cares about, but it's not a secret that the U.S. spends more than it takes in.
"A vote to grow our economy, balance the budget and address growing concerns over entitlement programs is a step in the right direction," Pudwill said, alleging that Robertson supports a budget that raises taxes by $1.5 trillion, and increases spending by nearly $2.5 trillion. "Add to that her support of a slash in Medicare, unfair and devastating to seniors, of over $700 billion to fund 'Obamacare,' and Robertson still won't recognize the financial burden she is willing to place on hardworking families. None of this should be a surprise since she has doubled property tax collections on Tompkins County residents and increased spending there by almost 60 percent."
The 23rd congressional District includes Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tompkins and Tioga counties.