Chele Chiavacci Farley, a Republican aiming to unseat U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, channeled another U.S. senator from New York while launching her campaign last week.
Farley, a managing director at a private equity investment firm and fundraiser for the state Republican Party, announced her candidacy in a five-minute YouTube video released Thursday. She is one of two Republicans in the race. The other is David Webber, a retired businessman from Oswego County.
In her campaign launch video, Farley highlighted New York's status as a donor state. New York has long given more in taxes to the federal government than it received in federal spending. Recent reports indicate that gap is $48 billion.
While New York's status as a donor state has been a longstanding problem, Farley blamed Gillibrand, a Democrat, for the state not getting its fair share from the federal government.
"The fact that we're losing that much money every year is not fair," Farley said.
Farley also cited the recently passed federal tax law as an example of Gillibrand's "ineffectiveness." New York officials from both parties criticized the tax plan, which was authored by congressional Republicans and signed by President Donald Trump, because of the potential impact on the state. An early version of the tax plan called for the elimination of state and local tax deductions, which residents of high-tax states use to ease their tax burden.
Gillibrand didn't vote for the tax plan and wasn't involved in drafting the measure. But that didn't prevent Farley from linking the senator to the tax legislation.
"Instead of cutting taxes for every small business and middle-class family, New York was one of the few states that was penalized," she said. "To me, that's a clear example of how Kirsten Gillibrand's ineffectiveness is impacting all of us and it's an insult to New York's middle-class families now struggling to find a good-paying job, afford higher housing costs and skyrocketing property taxes."
Farley levied other criticisms against Gillibrand. She said the senator "has become a creature of Washington" and her views are out of touch with most New Yorkers.
There wasn't much revealed in the video about Farley's platform. To address New York's status as a donor state, she hopes to return the $40 billion to the state to repair critical infrastructure, including bridges, roads and mass transit systems. Investing in infrastructure will help create jobs and revitalize the economy, she said.
She also revealed that she supports term limits. She didn't say what the term limits should be for members of Congress. While presidents are limited to two four-year terms, there aren't term limits for members of Congress. Members of the U.S. Senate serve six-year terms. Gillibrand, who was appointed to the Senate in 2009 and won re-election in 2012, is seeking her second full term.
When Gillibrand was last on the ballot, she defeated Republican challenger Wendy Long by 46 points.
Glen Caplin, a spokesman for Gillibrand, welcomed Farley to the Senate race.
"Kirsten always encourages women to run for office, even when she doesn't agree with their pro-Trump or anti-choice views," he said. "She is proud of her record in the U.S. Senate fighting for New York families as hard as she fights for her own and looks forward to the opportunity of earning the privilege to continue serving New Yorkers for another term."
New York Republicans will meet in March to designate a candidate in the Senate race. Farley is the favorite to secure the GOP nomination.
If a primary is necessary, it will be held Tuesday, June 26.