After several tours in Kosovo and Iraq, Chris Gibson ran for New York’s 20th Congressional district seat in the House of Representatives in 2010 against the incumbent Democrat Scott Murphy. Although the political newcomer started off the race behind in the polls, Mr. Gibson eventually went on to beat Murphy with 53.7 percent of the vote. He later won reelection in 2012 and 2014, garnering attention for his unusual ability to garner support from Democratic voters.
“[T]he race here in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills is emerging as something even rarer, and perhaps more intriguing, in an era of reflexive partisanship: a case study of how a Republican can cultivate, win over and retain an unusually high level of support from Democrats in a swing district, while adhering to Republican positions,” reported the New York Times during Gibson’s 2014 campaign. The piece noted the “motley” list of groups supporting him, from the National Rifle Association to the state teachers’ union.
Representative Gibson is a member of No Labels, a group of Republicans and Democrats aiming to challenge Washington’s growing partisanship. And Gibson has challenged partisanship in his own political views: he opposed sending American ground troops to fight the Islamic State, while supporting climate change research and fighting employer discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
As a supporter of term limits, Gibson announced his decision to retire from politics this year.