Hugh Reynolds: Circling around Congress

Democrat Julian Schreibman’s announcement he was running for Congress last week may have jumpstarted a few other cats, and they’re not purring.

Schreibman, to the surprise of many, amusement of some and annoyance to others, last week became the first Democrat to declare for the seat occupied for two decades by Maurice Hinchey. Just where the district will be remains to be seen; congressional reapportionment won’t be revealed for another month or so.

Talk about leaps of faith. Nobody knows what the new lines will encompass. Given the “transparent” process of redistricting, they will be (literally) a state secret until announced. There’s a good chance that even Hinchey himself won’t recognize the new district.


Schreibman, 39, the former county Democratic county committee chair from Marbletown, brings an impressive resume to the table. We know that he, son of local ballet doyenne Anne Hebert, can dance. He’s also a Yale law graduate and a former federal prosecutor of corporate thieves and terrorists, which come to think, are something of the same thing.

Schreibman says he can raise the millions required for a congressional run from, as he told me, “people who donate to congressional candidates and above.” If not, Mom may have to present The Nutcracker — a holiday staple at UPAC — two or three times this year.

In my view, Schreibman’s three-and-a-half-year record as county chairman was spotty. A hands-off party boss, his team lost the county legislature twice, DA and county judge, but elected a sheriff and county executive at a time when Democrats had an edge in enrollment. That won’t matter much in a congressional election that could cover six or seven counties and upwards of 700,000 people, but it may not make him the local favorite.

For that status, we turn to the always-elusive but oft-effusive man-with-a-plan, County Executive Mike Hein. Hein is an ambitious soul who will neither confirm nor deny speculation that he could be a candidate. That he will entertain offers was made clear by his statement that some people were coming to him.

Actually, it works the other way around. Checkbooks don’t jump out of the woodwork. All indications are that Hein has been laying the groundwork for this opportunity for some time now.

Should Hein declare — and what better forum than at the Feb. 23 local chamber of commerce breakfast, where he is guest speaker? — he would immediately go to the front of the pack. He has shown a talent for cultivating people in high places, like U.S.senators and New York governors.