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Mitrano: Reed gerrymanders debates, blurs the line between governing and campaigning

ITHACA—In 2018, Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY23) and his Democratic opponent Tracy Mitrano were offered eight opportunities to debate each other. Reed agreed to just three, all located in the southwestern part of the district.

Because they were clustered there, all three debates were supposed to be recorded and put online for viewers who lived elsewhere. Due to technical problems, only one of the recordings captured an entire debate.

And that, Mitrano said during today’s press call, is why she is calling for five debates this year, one in each of the media markets that serve the district. The cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton are outside the 23rd district, “but that’s where Tom Reed will spend a million dollars on advertisements,” said Mitrano. “You’d think he could agree to debate in each of those four markets in addition to the one that is in the district, Elmira-Corning.”

Mitrano said Reed has a history of choosing debate times and locations that benefit him and put his opponent at a disadvantage. “It’s a disservice to the district, which is the size of New Jersey,” she said. “It weeds out all the eastern parts. He hasn’t been in Geneva since 2012. I don’t believe he has ever had a debate in Ithaca or Owego.

“With more debates, if there are technical glitches at one or two people will still get a chance to have a full picture of what the issues are and what the campaigns represent,” she added.

A Reed spokesman declared that “to suggest that the congressional race warrants more debates than even the race for President shows that Tracy is a grand-stander.” Mitrano said his tone was revealing.

“The indignation and self-righteousness about just getting out in front of the public reveals how Tom Reed blurs the line between being a candidate for Congress and being a congressman,” she said. “Many of the news reports he sends out are patently political.” Reed has leveled numerous attacks on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in his constituent newsletter, “which should be about federal, not state issues, and not the petty things Tom Reed chooses to create discord about.”

The campaign spokesman said Reed stays accessible to his constituents by doing town hall meetings.

“Those aren’t debates! I’m not there to speak at them,” Mitrano exclaimed. “That’s his function as a congressman. Debates are part of the campaign.” She also took issue with a press release announcing Reed’s second-quarter fundraising results, which ended with the false claim that Mitrano “expressed support for open heroin injection sites.” Referring to her 2019 OpEd on the opioid crisis, Mitrano said her approach is to track prescriptions, treat addiction and use technology at the borders and the Post Office to stop drugs from coming into the country.

“Using a press release about fundraising as a way to resurrect the lies that Tom Reed used in the last campaign really needs to be called out,” she said.

“Politics is a matter life and death. It is not advertising. It is not entertainment. Tom Reed doesn’t seem to know that.”

Claudia Wheatley
[email protected]

Posted on July 23, 2020 in Press Releases.

Meet Tracy Mitrano

Tracy Mitrano is a cybersecurity expert, teacher, and mother. She was born and raised in Western New York and has lived in the Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes throughout her adult life.

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