On August 20th, US House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) attended a fundraiser for NY 20th district congressional candidate Colonel Chris Gibson in Saratoga Springs, NY. The event was held near the historic Saratoga Racetrack. A few days prior, Moveon.org announced a protest of the event. In response, the Gibson campaign asked supporters to come out with less than 48 hours notice.
Approximately sixty supporters of Colonel Gibson showed up. While the campaign supplied signs, people were invited to bring their own signs. A good number of people did just that. Supporters cheered and cars honked their horns. Positive reactions outnumbered negative reactions by at least ten to one. Media from four local television stations showed up.
One of the Gibson supporters decided to check out the Moveon.org protest being held about a block away. Posing as a disinterested party, he counted at least twenty people. He was given a flyer which attempted to smear Colonel Gibson with negatives about John Boehner.
Another Gibson supporter brought a sign containing what looked like little doors naming towns within the district. He challenged people walking by to take a guess as to incumbent Congressman Scott Murphy’s location. Murphy has not held well announced general town halls in the 20th district this year as he did last year. This spring, Scott Murphy voted in favor of ObamaCare despite voting against it last fall. Much of the district was against ObamaCare.
About halfway into the rally, two individuals from the Moveon.org event walked the Gibson crowd with a video camera. They “interviewed” various supporters of Gibson even as the event coordinator asked others not to engage the Moveon.org people. In this age of video “gotcha” moments, anyone can creatively clip footage to make an embarassing clip.
The Gibson fundraising event featuring John Boehner was closed to the public and closed to the media. Nevertheless, media and others hung around near the fences trying to catch a word or two on microphones or cell phones.
The Gibson support rally ended at 6pm, but one of the television reporters wanted to provide a comprehensive clip. We were asked to stick around and show support with a strong presence, get cars to honk for Gibson, etc.
After the event ended, the two from Moveon.org came back with mops offering them for free to anyone who would like one. They were ignored. This was likely in reference to Obama’s many “grab a mop” statements as he blamed Republicans for his own incompetence in handling the economy and just about everything else.
All in all it was an excellent turnout. NY’s 20th congressional district is large in terms of territory and spans parts of ten counties. To bring in sixty people with such short notice shows there is strong momentum.