Not that Ithaca Journal readers would know it from the reporting.  They sniff at the notion that the GOP might make a concerted effort to push Maurice Hinchey out of Congress, then neglect to point out the rather troubling development for an incumbent of having a challenger surpass him in fundraising in an election year:

Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey, meanwhile, is not a major GOP target in the 22nd Congressional District covering Ithaca and Binghamton and stretching east to Poughkeepsie on the other side of the Hudson River.

Yes, yes, nothing to see here, just move along. Or — perhaps there is, although one has to go past the jump to the final three paragraphs of the article to discover it:

In the 22nd District race, Hinchey likely will face Republican George Phillips in the November election. Phillips captured only 34 percent of the vote in his 2008 race against Hinchey.

Phillips raised $83,018 last quarter and $155,952 so far this cycle. Phillips had $77,291 remaining on March 31.

Hinchey raised $69,865 in the first three months of this year and has raised a total $344,112 so far in the 2009-2010 cycle. His campaign had $145,010 remaining on March 31

In other words, Phillips managed to raise over $13,000 more than Hinchey in the first quarter. Hinchey still has a lead in on-hand cash, but Hinchey also has a higher burn rate. While Phillips has roughly half of the funds he’s raised still in the bank, Hinchey has just 42%. One might wonder where the money has gone.

It certainly hasn’t gone into improving his image. A local TV station in Binghamton took more of an interest in the story, and of a poll showing Hinchey as vulnerable in this cycle:

The FEC recently released their campaign finance report for the first quarter of 2010. George Phillips, candidate for Congress in New York’s 22nd congressional district reported an increase in campaign cash on hand of more than $50,000 bringing his total to $77,290. During that same period, Congressman Maurice Hinchey improved his cash on hand total by roughly $15,000 for a total of $145,010. This significantly closes the gap between the two campaigns as compared to the Dec 2009 filing. …

The campaign finance reports came out shortly after a study by Wilson Research Strategies revealed that only 35% of district voters were committed to sending Maurice Hinchey back to Congress for another term, while the rest would either be willing to consider another candidate or would definitely vote against Mr. Hinchey. While the study found that Phillips’ name recognition was still relatively low, as might be expected this early in the campaign, among those who said they were familiar with both Hinchey and Phillips, the challenger led the incumbent by a 42-41 margin.

If, as the Ithaca Journal reports, Republicans haven’t taken an interest in NY-22, they will shortly. Voters already look to have taken an interest in Anyone But Hinchey, and as they learn about Phillips, that will only escalate.