Gibson and Hanna have both shown strong independent streaks in their relatively brief Washington careers. Both were first elected in 2010 and face re-election next year in a blue state — where Obama won a wide margin over challenger Mitt Romney in 2012. In the 19th Congressional District, for example, Obama topped Romney by 6.2 percent in the same cycle that Gibson fended off Democratic challenger Julian Schreibman of Stone Ridge by 5.7 percent.
Gibson said he voted against the continuing resolution that could pave the way to a government shutdown because he would prefer to see both parties compromise and President Barack Obama open negotiations with the House.
Hanna was more critical of the stalemate that brought about the threat of a government shutdown, calling it “a shameful way to operate.”
“It is incumbent on us to approve a bill that keeps the government open at responsible spending levels — and then work to address the long-term, structural drivers of our national debt,” Hanna said in a statement.
In local Republican circles, there was mixed reaction to the fact that Gibson and Hanna were the nation’s only two GOP House members to vote against yanking funding from the federal government.
Cobleskill Mayor Mark Galasso, a conservative Republican, said the votes of Gibson and Hanna smacked of “political expediency” and trying to take political cover when they are being aggressively challenged by the Democratic Party.
Galasso said Gibson now shares a similar space on the political spectrum as former President Bill Clinton, a moderate Democrat, while becoming increasingly out of step with those who subscribe to the core convictions of the Republican Party.
But even though they voted with Democrats on the continuing resolution, neither Gibson nor Hanna is likely to face a viable challenger from the right wing of the Republican Party or the ultra-conservative tea party movement, Galasso said.