Exclusive: George Phillips of Endwell, NY slips quietly into congressional race

Article originally written by Michael “Vass” Vasquez at Binghamton Political Buzz Examiner.com

Speaking with George Phillips and NY GOP chairman Ed Cox - 2010
Speaking with George Phillips and NY GOP chairman Ed Cox – 2010

The New York 22nd Congressional race has been a swirl of rumor since the announcement by Rep. Richard Hanna that he will not seek re-election in 2016. Both Democrats and Republicans have been dancing around news media questions on who may run, besides the only declared candidate Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney. She had already announced her run for the congressional seat in November. long before Rep. Hanna had made any decision. But as many of the rumored potential candidates have toured the talk radio circuit, one name has made an end-run move to declare a challenge to Assemblywoman Tenney.

After a 6 year absence from congressional level politics, George Phillips of Endwell, NY is the first Republican to jump into the NY-22 race and challenge Claudia Tenney. As we reported on December 21, 2015, Mr. Phillips had been rumored to be considering a run. Previously Mr. Phillips had run for the NY-22 in 2010 before the district was redistricted. In that race he lost 45.9% to 51% against Democrat Rep. Maurice Hinchey. In 2013, Mr Phillips was appointed to the Broome County 8th Legislators seat, a position he resigned from in 2014.

When we previously spoke to Mr. Phillips about the rumor of his intent to run, we were told that he was considering his options but had made no decision. But we are now aware that Mr. Phillips has been seeking donations to fund a run. We confirmed that at least one political action committee (PAC) was approached and declined support to Mr. Phillips. Additionally, in an email sent to multiple individuals that we have received a copy of on December 29, 2015, Mr. Phillips states he is attempting to raise $10,000 before December 31, 2015. The email, which links to an election website at George Phillips for Congress states,

“As a show of support and to jump start our campaign, we are trying to get 150 donors to donate a total of $10,000 by the December 31st filing with the Federal Election Commission… We are ready for this race and believe that with your help we can make a difference for our area and our nation in the midst of these great challenges… [signed] George Phillips Candidate for US Congress”

The email makes no mention that Assemblywoman Tenney already has declared her run for the NY-22 seat more than a month earlier, though Mr. Phillips did acknowledge he was aware of her run to us previously. The email also fails to note why Mr. Phillips resigned from the Legislator appointment, nor if he agreed with the many controversial positions of Rep. Hanna. Further, no indication was made that Mr. Phillips has filed with the Federal Election Commission, nor when he would make this announcement public knowledge.

In review of the website, which was created on December 22, 2015 via a Canadian service, the about section makes no reference to the Legislator seat held and resigned. Nor does it note that Mr. Phillips had run against Rep. Hinchey twice and lost both times prior to the new district being created. It does denote that it has been 6 years since Mr. Phillips has been involved in politics at this level. Also absent from the website is any mention of the campaign platform or political issue positions that Mr. Phillips is taking and has been silent about for years.

Thus it is unclear if Mr. Phillips has raised the $10,000 requested, or the timeframe in which he hoped to raise these funds in. We have tried to contact Mr. Phillips for a response and a clarification if his intent to run was conditional based on raising the funds requested in the email. As of the time of this article we have not received any response. We also reached out to Broome County Republican Chairman Bijoy Datta, who had previously hinted at a run by Mr. Phillips on December 21, 2015. Our attempt to receive a response from Chairman Datta thus far has also gone without response.

What is clear is that after a long hiatus, George Phillips is emerging as at least one of the Republican challengers to Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney’s frontrunner position in the New York 22nd Congressional District race. At this time, additional challengers from Cortland, Oneida, and Oswego Counties remain silent on their decisions. Equally silent is the Democrat challenger, presumed by many to be Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi though David Gordon, a former one-term Legislator from Oneida County has created an exploratory committee. If both Democrats move forward it would mean that both Republicans and Democrats would be facing primaries in 2016 for the NY-22 seat.

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