After Eldridge decided he wanted to run for office, he and Hughes in 2011 bought the first of two luxurious homes in the Hudson Valley region. Soon after, Eldridge set up a venture capital firm, Hudson River Ventures, that has provided millions in loans and equity lines to local companies. And now the first-time candidate, who’s running his first business, is touting the jobs he’s created in the blue-collar district…

Like no other 2014 candidate, Eldridge is testing the limits of dollars and cents to secure a seat in the House of Representatives. The Democrat is tapping Hughes’s vast wealth — estimated at $700 million — to build an elaborate campaign apparatus in a district where he remains a stranger to many. In addition to his firm’s investments, Eldridge has spent more than $700,000 on his campaign, and that figure is sure to rise exponentially because he’s promised to match each contribution he receives, dollar for dollar.

His efforts are all the more striking in contrast with incumbent GOP Rep. Chris Gibson, a 49-year-old decorated war veteran and former college professor who lives in the same middle-class neighborhood where he grew up. Gibson’s financial disclosure report filed with the House lists a savings account of $100,000 to $250,000, and the Center for Responsive Politics ranks his personal wealth in the bottom fifth of House members…

“This is about him and his political aspirations, and I think that’s going to be a problem for him. He married well, he married into money,” Gibson said of Eldridge. “But there are some things money can’t buy.”