I have replaced the pad on several Electros. I used a rubber gasket sheet (of the correct thickness) from my local hardware store.
The pad is a pain to replace and I know what you mean about the original material --- it looks like it is turning back to a petroleum product....
The Electro I use is a black GT model. I added a yashica guy battery adapter and a red lizardskin covering from cameraleather.com -- it looks great..
I think you will enjoy the camera, it has a very sharp lens and some great features.