Top House Dem recruit could face primary

Democrat Sean Eldridge, a top Democratic recruit running against Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), could get a primary challenge in a local attorney who is reportedly gauging support for a bid.

According to the Daily Star, Frank Steinherr warned in an email to Democratic leaders that Eldridge, the husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes who has gained the notice of national Democrats, faces "big problems" in his bid to unseat Gibson.

"[Republicans] are lining up to position the race against Eldridge as a campaign of personalities -- Gibson, the local war hero from a working family vs. Eldridge, the multi-millionaire outsider trying to buy a congressional seat," Steinherr wrote.

Steinherr, a mergers and acquisitions attorney for the Manhattan law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, noted in his email that Republicans are characterizing Eldridge in attacks as "a young, inexperienced opportunist."

"His candidacy has been welcomed by Republicans almost as much as Eldridge's own supporters!" Steinherr wrote.

Eldridge has faced such attacks in his campaign early on, as Gibson is one of Democrats' top targets heading into 2014, and Eldridge is considered a top-tier contender, in part because of his deep pockets and powerful connections.

He was named to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Jumpstart Program," a designation for promising candidates that comes with  operational support.

But Eldridge moved to the district to run, prompting carpetbagging charges, and Republicans believe he's susceptible to attacks on his personal wealth. A Democratic primary could complicate the party's chances at taking the seat, when Democrats need to pick up 17 seats to take back the majority in 2014.

Still, Gibson's seat has gone for President Obama in the past two cycles, and its clear from Steinherr's email local party activists believe the party has a strong shot at taking it back next year with the right candidate.