Sean Eldridge (born July 31, 1986) is an American political activist, former congressional candidate, and the founder and president of Stand Up America, a progressive advocacy community. Eldridge previously served as political director of Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win recognition of same-sex marriage nationwide.
|Born||Sean Simcha Eldridge
July 31, 1986
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Alma mater||Deep Springs College
|Known for||Freedom to Marry
Stand Up America
|Spouse(s)||Chris Hughes (m. 2012)|
Eldridge was born in Montreal, Quebec, and became a U.S. citizen in 2006. Eldridge grew up in the suburbs of Toledo, Ohio, and attended public school in Ottawa Hills, a village in Lucas County that is a bedroom community and suburb of Toledo. Both of his parents are medical doctors; his father, Steve Eldridge, is a radiologist, and his mother, Sarah Taub, is a family physician. His mother was born in Petah Tikva, Israel, to Jewish refugee parents, and his father converted to Judaism. Eldridge held Israeli citizenship.
He studied at Deep Springs College in Deep Springs, California, then graduated with a degree in philosophy from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he helped organize the national Students for Barack Obama campaign in 2007. Eldridge enrolled at Columbia Law School in New York City but withdrew to join Freedom to Marry after the New York State Senate voted against legalizing same-sex marriage in New York in December 2009.
After the New York Senate failed to legalize same sex marriage in New York State in 2009, Eldridge joined Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage equality nationwide. He served initially as communications director and then as political director, a role in which he helped lead the successful 2011 effort to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. He currently serves as a senior advisor to the group. Eldridge has debated opponents of gay rights on Fox News.com and ABC News Nightline. The New York Observer ranked him as one of NY's Top 50 "most powerful gay figures" of 2011.
Following the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York State, Eldridge founded the investment fund Hudson River Ventures in 2011 to address the growing issue of access to capital for small businesses in the Hudson Valley." The fund has invested in more than a dozen businesses in the region, with a particular focus on food and beverage companies. In 2013, Eldridge founded the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center at SUNY New Paltz, which trains students and workers on the use of 3-D printing technology.
Since 2011, Eldridge has served on the board of directors of Scenic Hudson, "the largest environmental group focused on the Hudson Valley" and is a significant supporter of their climate change and waterfront protection programs. Eldridge has also served as a Planned Parenthood board member.
In 2012, he launched Protect Our Democracy PAC and New York Leadership for Accountable Government (NY LEAD), a bipartisan group of business and civic leaders advocating for campaign finance reform in New York State.
Eldridge attended U.S. President Barack Obama's first state dinner with Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes in 2009. The couple was featured on the cover of The Advocate magazine's "Forty Under 40" issue in May 2011, and they were profiled in the New York Times in May 2012.
Eldridge and Hughes announced their engagement in January 2011 at a reception in support of Freedom to Marry. They married on June 30, 2012, and reside in Shokan, New York. Eldridge and Hughes have funded advocacy groups and Democratic candidates across the U.S.
In the weeks after the 2016 election, Eldridge started Stand Up America, which began as a Facebook page and grew into a self described community of over a million Americans resisting Donald Trump's alleged corruption, his alleged ties to Russia, and his legislative agenda. Stand Up America was part of the People's Defense Coalition, which tried to block the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and helped organize the national Tax March on April 15, 2017 to call for the release of Trump's tax returns.
In early 2013, Eldridge filed paperwork to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014, challenging Republican incumbent Chris Gibson in New York's 19th congressional district. The district has been described as "the quintessential swing district". RealClearPolitics reported that "Eldridge’s formidable strengths as a well-financed, eloquent messenger with powerful friends in the Democratic Party [were] obvious." Eldridge "made campaign finance reform a key part of his platform, advocating for more transparency in the system, greater enforcement of the existing rules, and a small-dollar matching-funds system for congressional races."
Eldridge and his husband, Chris Hughes, "purchased a $5 million estate in the town of Garrison in 2011, but then settled [in 2013] on a $2 million home in a neighboring district..." After moving into the 19th Congressional District, “Eldridge set up a venture capital firm, Hudson River Ventures, that has provided millions in loans and equity lines to local companies.” Eldridge reportedly used Hughes's wealth “to build an elaborate campaign apparatus in a district where he remain[ed] a stranger to many. In addition to his firm’s investments, Eldridge…promised to match each contribution he receive[d], dollar for dollar.”
|Democratic||Sean S. Eldridge||60,533||28.8%|
|Working Families||Sean S. Eldridge||11,937||5.7%|
|Total||Sean S. Eldridge||72,470||34.5%|
|Conservative (N.Y.)||Chris Gibson||20,420||9.7%|
|Total||Chris Gibson (Incumbent)||131,594||62.6%|