U.S. Rep. Tom Reed has a challenger for his seat in Congress - nearly two years before the next scheduled Congressional election.
Democrats in the district feel Nate Shinegawa could have won the seat if he had more time to campaign in 2012. Shinegawa faced a compressed time frame because of redistricting and a hard-fought primary for the Democratic Party's nomination. At least one Democrat didn't want to make the same mistake again.
So it is that Martha Robertson, Tompkins County Legislature chairwoman, has announced her bid to run for Congress long before most Democrats have even thought about the 23rd Congressional District race. Robertson is looking to capitalize on Shinegawa's strong campaign while simultaneously building her own name brand and fundraising accounts to be able to mount a strong challenge against Reed. She's also trying to dissuade other interested Democrats from mounting a primary challenge.
It's all part of the game these days.
And, for too many in Washington, it is a game.
Voters want bipartisanship and solutions to pressing national problems, but endless campaigns reinforce party divisions and make it harder for politicians to work together. The constant pursuit of political advantage helps make the game of campaigning more important to politicians than the hard work of governing. Governance must be about bringing together differing viewpoints in order to achieve a solution that works for both sides. It's hard to govern when campaigns and empty rhetoric keep getting in the way.
It's high time our representatives - and potential representatives - learned that lesson.