Reed, Shinagawa confident as Election Day nears

Jeff Cole

As Election Day draws nearer, both candidates for the 23rd Congressional District seat on Wednesday expressed confidence in their campaigns.

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, said his campaign is energized but added “it’s always good to be coming down the homestretch.” He said he thinks his message of being a champion of the private sector will resonate with voters this Tuesday.

“If we really allow the private sector to blossom, those are generational jobs that we’re talking about and that’s what I’m interested in: long-term solutions to our problem,” he said.

Reed’s opponent, Democrat Nate Shinagawa, said he feels very good about the next few days of his campaign.

“We have closed in on Congressman Reed over the past two months. We’re now in a neck-and-neck race. I think he is very concerned about this campaign and that’s why he’s been going very negative and spreading a lot of falsehoods about this race but I think that’s the sign of his campaign being desperate in the last few moments of this race,” he said.

Reed’s campaign will be at the Radisson Hotel Corning on Election Night, while Shinagawa’s team will be at the Holiday Inn in Ithaca.

Neither campaign was greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy, which wreaked havoc along the U.S. East Coast earlier this week. However, Shinagawa said his campaign took a couple days off to focus on ways it could help out.

“In fact, I even called my hospital and volunteered my time to them. Fortunately, they didn’t have to call me in but I did let them know because I ran our emergency operations center last year during Tropical Storm Lee, that I was willing to do it again this year,” said Shinagawa, who is on leave from his job as a Guthrie Health administrator.

Reed said the storm was very concerning.

“Thank God we were able to weather it fairly well, unlike the folks down on the coast who my thoughts and prayers continue to go out to. Here in upstate and western New York, we have been blessed in the sense that we didn’t see any of that significant devastation and that’s allowed us to continue to get out there and continue talking to people and listening to people,” he said.

As for what his campaign still has to do, Reed said his team will just continue to work hard.

Shinagawa said he his campaign is going to continue doing what is has been since the race started: touring the district.

For Reed, the debate will serve as a way to keep alerting the public to his campaign’s main message.

“We’re going to continue to bring forth our message that I believe in and that’s really being a champion for small business, for the private sector and really taking care of the national debt in a way that is long-term and that takes that monster and gets it under control,” he said.

Shinagawa said the debate is a chance to highlight the differences between himself and Reed.

“I really am going to stress just how Congressman Reed’s votes support big businesses, rather than small businesses, how on social issues, he’s had a lot of hypocrisy on these issues. And then also environmental and energy and agricultural issues, he’s followed with what the Republican leadership wants him to do, rather than what’s best for the people of this district,” he said.