NY-19: Faso Asks, Delgado Answers

The battle over the future of ICE has come to NY-19.

Republican Rep. John Faso’s campaign manager Tom Szymanski posted a statement earlier this week on Faso’s Facebook page asking if the congressman’s Democratic challenger, Antonio Delgado, supports the call by his fellow Democrats for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to be abolished.

Several high profile New York Democrats have already jumped on board calling for the agency’s end, most recently, Queens Democrat Sen. Mike Gianaris.

The Republicans, led by President Donald Trump, have leapt to ICE’s defense, with some predicting that this issue will help the GOP preserve its control of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections.

“The service that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement provides in keeping our communities safe is invaluable, and it is disturbing to hear elected Democrats and Democratic candidates for office calling to abolish ICE,” Szymanski wrote.

Szymanski singled out a number of prominent Democrats, including NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, and recently victorious NY-14 candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as “other fellow-Progressives on the loony left by wishing to abolish ICE,” adding: “Voters deserve to know whether Mr. Delgado will work to abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

This morning, Delgado responded with a statement of his own, and suggested that in the future, Faso contact him directly and not resort to using an intermediary to handle his inquiries.

“Congressman Faso should feel free to contact me directly with his inquiries about my positions,” Delgado said. “I would be happy to exchange cell phone numbers so that he does not need his staffer to send out statements written by (House Speaker) Paul Ryan. I am eager to discuss our country’s immigration policies and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with the Congressman.”

He added: “Spoiler alert: I do not support abolishing ICE.”

Delgado also took the opportunity to criticize Faso’s voting record on healthcare, and noted his relationship with Ryan, who is not seeking re-election this fall.

Faso has received fundraising assistance from the Congressional Leadership Fund. Protecting the freshman congressman in the battle for NY-19, which has changed political hands several times in recent election cycles, is of particular interest to Republicans as they try to maintain their majority.

Ryan has also appeared at past fundraisers in support of Faso, who is seeking a second term.

NY-19: In Ad, Ryan Highlights Gun Control Push

Democratic congressional candidate Pat Ryan on Tuesday released his first TV ad of his campaign, highlighting his support for gun control.

The spot also highlights his background as a veteran and his technology company.

The Kingston native is competing for the Democratic nomination in the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley, vying to take on Republican incumbent John Faso, who is seeking a second term.

Flynn Lands 1st Labor Endorsement in NY-19 Dem Race

From the Morning Memo:

Brian Flynn, one of seven Democrats vying for the right to challenge freshman Republican Rep. John Faso in NY-19, is poised to announce he has landed the first labor endorsement of the primary battle.

Flynn, a businessman from Hunter, is being backed by the Transport Workers Union, a national labor organization, whose international president, John Samuelsen, (also FORMER president of TWU Local 100 here in New York), said in a statement to be released by Flynn’s campaign that the candidate is “a leader who understands that the economic security of families must be the highest priority of Congress, and that unions are a necessary partner in that mission.”

“From his advocacy to strengthen airport/airline security after his personal loss in the Lockerbie bombing, to his complete grasp of labor struggles, including the expected impact of Janus, Brian Flynn is the ally the entire TWU membership needs in Washington,” added Angelo Cucuzza, chairman of the New York TWU Conference, comprised of locals across the state.

The TWU represents more than 140,000 men and women in the airline, railroad, transit, service, utility and gaming industries across the U.S., and 43,000 of them are members of Local 100 in New York City.

Flynn has a long-standing and very personal tie to this union. One of its founders and first president, Michael Quill, was Flynn’s great uncle. He successfully organized New York City subway workers in the 1930s, and then secured contracts for them that – for the first time – granted them weekends off, pensions and health care coverage.

“To be the first and only candidate endorsed by labor in this race, particularly by an organization that holds such a deep and personal legacy for my family, is a profound honor,” Flynn said. “Unions are a powerful weapon in the fight against inequality, wage stagnation and a system that doesn’t represent the needs of a large majority of American workers.”

“They work to tackle racial and gender inequality by raising wages of women, black and Hispanic workers. I believe in an America That Works For All of Us. That’s why reinvigorating unions is a major tenet of my Plan For the American Worker. At the end of the day, this is about economic justice.”

Flynn is the only candidate in this race – actually, the only candidate in the entire state – whose campaign staffers have unionized, which, apparently is something of a mini-movement at a handful of congressional campaigns (all Democratic candidates) across the country.

So, TWU in New York is, as mentioned, pretty much a downstate entity. But in a Democratic field this crowded, any small leg up – via organizing, or independent expenditures, or phone-banking, or what have you – could make a difference leading up to the June primary.

NY-19: Dutchess County Dems Back Delgado

Democratic congressional candidate Antonio Delgado racked up the endorsement of the Dutchess County Democratic Committee, his campaign on Friday announced.

Delgado is among the crowded field of Democrats vying for the nomination in the 19th congressional district to take on Republican Rep. John Faso.

“I’m honored to have received the Dutchess County Democratic Committee endorsement, and humbled by the strong grassroots support I have received,” Delgado said.

“Democrats across Dutchess County and across the Hudson Valley and Catskills are uniting behind my campaign to bring universal, affordable healthcare to all, create good-paying jobs, reform our broken education system, repeal the Trump tax scam, and preserve our environment. With the support of the Dutchess County Democrats and thousands of others, I’m ready to take on John Faso and flip this district.”

The Hudson Valley House race is considered one of the key battleground contests in New York this fall. Faso was elected in 2016, a hold for Republicans following the departure of Rep. Chris Gibson.

Faso Says He’d Back Increasing Age For Gun Purchases

Republican Rep. John Faso in a radio interview on Friday said he would support legislation that would increase the age to purchase a firearm to 21 in the wake of a high school shooting in Florida that killed 17 people.

At the same time, Faso said in the interview on “Focus On The State Capitol” with Fred Dicker that he would support bolstering background checks and “hardening” schools to provide more security.

“Nothing here is perfect, but I do think given the emotional immaturity of many young men in particular at that point in their lives, 18, 19, 20, that that is a reasonable response to this,” Faso said. “I think we should make sure whatever we do is done with careful deliberation so that we understand the rights and liberties of individuals with public safety.”

It is illegal to sell a handgun to someone under the age of 21, but those over age 18 can purchase shotguns and rifles. The shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highschool is 19.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, backed a proposal on Friday to increase the age of firearm purchases to 21 as well as school security measures and increased safeguards on background checks to bar mentally ill people from buying a gun.

Raising the age of firearm purchases is not a guarantee as some gun-rights supporters would raise questions over whether it’s fair to do so given the minimum age to serve in the military is 18. Republicans, who control the White House and both houses of Congress, have been traditionally opposed to gun control legislation.

Nevertheless, the outcry after the Florida shooting has pushed some GOP lawmakers to be open to new legislation. Faso, a freshman elected in 2016, is seeking re-election in the competitive 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley.

In the interview, Faso was skeptical outright bans on certain weapons would not work.

“There was already a ban on so-called assault weapons,” he said. “It was tried and was shown to not have been effective.”

NY-19: Neal Says She’s In ‘Unique Position’ To Run

Independent candidate for Congress Diane Neal moved to Hurley in Ulster County a few years ago after an uninsured driver, she said, broke her back in a crash.

The injury gave her a lot of time to read.

“I have parts of me that are a little bit of everything — kind of like most people in the country,” Neal said in an interview during a visit to the Capitol in Albany. “I don’t think anyone is one thing or this or that. We’re so partisan at the moment, so incredibly tribal and maybe if we can get to together and listen to each other without these labels I think we can make a difference.”

Neal, an actress who has appeared on shows like “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Suits” has launched a bid for the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley. The district is expected to be one of those most competitive House races in the country and a host of Democrats have lined up to run against incumbent Republican Rep. John Faso.

Neal says she is yet to make up her mind on which party she would caucus with if elected, saying it would be great to be “in the middle” and have either side wanting her to join.

“How amazing would that be for the district? You would be able to get a lot of stuff,” she said, adding she would want to work with “honorable people, you could work with them.”

Still, Neal is supportive of a single-payer health care system — which has been a key plank for the national Democratic Party in recent years.

“A single payer health care system would be one of the biggest benefits to the economy,” she said. “It’s an infusion of cash.”

The 19th district has been the site of several high stakes House races in recent election cycles, several of which featured candidates whose ties to the district had been criticized for being relatively new.

Neal said she’s different.

“That’s my home. I’m there 24 hours a day. I know everyone in my local Stewart’s,” she said. “I haven’t been fantasizing about being president of the United States and I want to live there my entire life.”

NY-19: Rhodes Gets Kingston Dem Chair Endorsement

Congressional hopeful Gareth Rhodes on Monday was endorsed by the chairman of the Kingston Democratic Committee, his campaign announced.

“Born in Kingston and raised in Ulster County, Gareth is the true homegrown candidate that can win in NY-19,” said Joe Donaldson, the committee’s chairman.

“He understands the hopes and needs of NY-19, and will work tirelessly for our communities. Since launching his campaign, Gareth has gone door-to-door to support dozens of our local candidates. He has demonstrated a clear commitment not only to his future constituents, but also to building future bridges to strengthen local parties – exactly what we need from our next member of Congress. Gareth’s progressive values, government experience, working class background, and grassroots approach to visit all 163 towns in NY-19 is how we’ll win this race and bring our voices to Washington.”

Rhodes, a former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is among a crowded field seeking the Democratic nod to take on Republican Rep. John Faso in the 19th congressional district, considered a key battleground race this year that could tip control of the House of Representatives.

“I was born in Kingston at Benedictine Hospital, and it is a tremendous honor to earn the support of Joe Donaldson, a friend and a real leader in my home city,” Rhodes said. “For years, I’ve admired Joe’s approach to public service, working tirelessly to elect candidates who will stand up and fight for working class and progressive values. I look forward to working closely with Joe and the Kingston City Democratic Committee to win this race and restore a government committed to serving the people of NY-19.”

NY-19: Rhodes Plans RV Tour

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic congressional candidate Gareth Rhodes on Tuesday is kicking of an RV tour — a “Rhodes Trip” he’s dubbed it — of the sprawling 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley.

Rhodes is among the crowded field of Democratic candidates in the House district seeking to take on Republican Rep. John Faso next year in what is expected to be a battleground race.

Rhodes plans to travel to all 163 towns and cities in the district in a 1999 Ford Winnebago RV.

“I believe anyone who wants to represent this community in Congress owes the respect to look every person here in NY-19 in the eye,” Rhodes said. “Listen to your hopes and concerns. Earn your trust and answer the tough questions,” Gareth Rhodes said. “So I’m hitting the road and am going to all 163 towns and cities in NY-19 to do what our current member of Congress refuses to: have the respect to show up and listen to your hopes, your concerns, your ideas, and share my vision for the future of this community.”

He’s not the first candidate for office to go with the RV approach. Rhdoes’s former boss, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, traveled in an RV to tour upstate New York during his campaign for governor in 2010.

“Between now and Election Day, I’ll be coming to you,” Rhodes said. “And unlike John Faso and the typical politicians that only show up in your mailbox or on your TV, I’ll be there in person. At your door, your local diner, your farm, your firehouse, talking about why I’m so hopeful for our future. And this “Rhodes Trip” isn’t just a one-time effort. Once elected to Congress, I pledge to travel to all 163 towns and cities in NY-19 every year.”

And in a district that has seen its share of Democratic candidates with tenuous ties to the area, Democratic political observer Bruce Gyory said Rhodes’s trip is a good idea.

“The last two cycles Democrats were hurt by the carpetbagger charges ef‎fectively leveled by the GOP against Eldridge and Teachout,” Gyory said. “Rhodes grew up in the district and this tour underscores those roots. What may be dismissed as a stunt by some may appear to voters as a marker for hard work and a dogged campaign style. The enduring impact of the tour will likely be driven by what comes after it is over.”

Stefanik Backs Trump’s Health Care Executive Order

Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik praised the executive order issued Thursday by President Donald Trump that is designed to loosen some regulations for the Affordable Care Act.

The move is aimed at allowing some people to purchase cheaper plans with less coverage and pool coverage in groups after Republicans in Congress failed to agree on a plan that would repeal or overhaul the law, known as Obamacare.

However, some worry the move could place sicker people into more expensive plans and driving up costs in the process.

“Families and businesses in my district deserve more choice in healthcare, and I applaud these efforts to lower costs,” Stefanik said in a statement. “Allowing employers to pool together and purchase insurance across state lines is commonsense and will allow more people to access affordable coverage. I will continue to work in Congress on bipartisan healthcare solutions to help lower costs, increase access and improve quality.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in a series of statements knocked individual Republicans in the House over the issue.

“Rep. Elise Stefanik and the do-nothing Republican Congress has failed to do anything to address the rising cost of healthcare or the instability in healthcare markets created by President Trump’s erratic behavior and reckless executive order,” said DCCC spokesman Evan Lukaske. “Elise Stefanik should put politics aside and work with Democrats to make healthcare more affordable or be ready for voters to show her the door in 2018.”

The full impact of the executive order is not expected to be fully phased in for several weeks, if not months.

NY-19: Delgado Raises $400K

Democratic congressional hopeful Antonio Delgado’s campaign announced this week he had raised more than $400,000 in the third quarter reporting period this year.

Delgado is among the Democrats in the crowded field for the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley who are vying to take on Republican Rep. John Faso.

“The energy in the Hudson Valley and Catskills region is incredible,” Delgado said, “and it’s clear that people are ready to elect new leadership to Washington DC. I spent the summer traveling across the district, and no matter where I go, be it Bagel Fest in Sullivan County, a forum in Delaware County, a dairy farm in Schoharie, or a meet and greet right near my home in Rhinebeck, I hear similar stories.”

Delgado’s total fundraising puts him at more than $1 million raised since February.

“These are stories of people who once had good middle class jobs, like my parents had, but lost ground when big employers like GE and IBM left the area,” Delgado said. “Good people who deserve opportunities to support themselves and live a secure, safe, healthy life right here in the Hudson Valley and Catskills. We need leaders who work to make that a reality, and I will continue to work hard to earn the support of the people of NY-19.”