As we wrap up our series "Fight for the House," we turn to Congressman Tom Reed, who represents a huge district that stretches along the Southern Tier to Lake Erie. This August recess, the Republican lawmaker has been dogged by questions not about policy, but about taxes, specifically his property taxes, and whether his admission that he paid them with campaign funds was just a onetime mistake or part of a larger pattern. Our Michael Scotto has the story.
NEW YORK STATE -- The news comes at a bad time for Congressman Tom Reed. This August recess, he has been trying to jump start his 2014 campaign. Appearing with local candidates. And shooting a video for his website.
"We're now in a cycle in Washington, D.C., especially in the House races. that these are much longer races," Reed said.
Reed has no choice but to start campaigning early across this massive district. He won by just four points last year and his democratic rival for next year is already building a strong campaign machine.
Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson is Reed's opponent. She says Reed is too close to GOP leadership.
"I know when you're there, you are part of a large group, but where is the leadership? You know, is he going to John Boehner and Eric Cantor and saying come on, we got to get this done? New Yorkers aren't seeing it," Robertson said.
Reed says he's independent, a problem solver. But according to the Washington Post, he votes with his party 86 percent of the time. And Reed says there are circumstances under which he'd join with the other GOP members and shut down the government.
Reed said, "If the position that the President and the Senate come to is 'look we're not going to do anything, we're just going to ask for a CR with no reforms and no further reductions in spending or debt ceiling relief' that does that, to me, that's a non-starter."
The federal budget is likely to be one issue at the center of next year's campaign, provided it's not overshadowed by Reed's personal finances