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.”

NY-19: Clegg Reports $220K Raised

Democratic congressional candidate Dave Clegg on Thursday reported having raised $220,000 in his bid for the Hudson Valley House seat held by Republican Rep. John Faso.

Clegg has $180,000 in cash on hand amid his first fundraising quarter of being in the race.

“John Faso first voted to make healthcare unaffordable for more than 20 million Americans and now his party is trying to jam through tax cuts for the top 1%,” Clegg said in a statement. “It’s time we stood up for the little guy again and focus on growing our economy so that it works for everyone.”

Clegg is one of a more than a half dozen Democrats vying for the nomination to take on Faso in the battleground 19th congressional district next year.

Clegg lives in Woodstock and has worked as a civil rights attorney and serves as chair of the Ulster County Human Rights Commission. His campaign touted his having lived in the district for the last 35 years.

Flynn Formally Launches in NY-19

The candidacy of Brian Flynn, a Greene County Democrat and medical device manufacturing company president, in NY-19 next year has not exactly been a secret.

This past spring, Flynn’s name appeared on an ever-increasing list of potential candidates – I believe we’re up to eight at this point? – interested in challenging freshman Republican Rep. John Faso, whose swing district is one of the Democrats’ top targets in the upcoming midterm elections.

And over the summer, Flynn reported raising more political cash than anyone else currently in the race – even the congressman himself – though that was thanks in large part to a $500,000 loan he floated to fund his campaign. (A spokesman for Flynn said there’s no limit at this point to the amount the candidate is willing to spend on this effort, and he also has no expectation of ever being repaid).

Today, however, marks the official launch of Flynn’s bid, which he marked with a video that focuses on the tragic death of his older brother, JP, who was killed in the 1988 terrorist attack on Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and how that spurred the younger Flynn to a life of service, activism and action.

“My older brother and best friend was killed…and my mother picked up the phone, and she slammed down the phone and said: He’s dead. You look for meaning; why did this happen? Why would someone kill your brother. And I heard my brother talking to me and saying, alright, now you’re living for two of us,” an emotional Flynn recalls.

“So, I was 19 years old, and I get in the car and I drive to Washington to get justice for the victims of this terrorist attack. The government tried to tell us that it could have been an accident. But we knew right away that wasn’t true. I was just a teenager, but I learned when you see something that is wrong, you have to do something about it.”

“We fought tirelessly to get safety regulations for airlines that would prevent this kind of terrorist attack…I’ve been fighting for change ever since.”

Flynn goes on to recount his family’s history – three generations living in the Green County area – remembering that his grandfather was a bartender in Leeds, and his great-uncle Mike Quill “started the union that protected subway workers.”

There’s also some personal testimony from Flynn’s sister, Kerry Mariani, and Lynn Gaffney, identified as “a small business owner.”

The video ends with Flynn criticizing Faso for failing to “fix things” in Washington, and instead working with President Donald Trump to make things “worse” with “chaos, dysfunction, (and) hateful rhetoric.” In particular, the video cites Faso’s “yes” vote on the health care reform bill, which has been a flashpoint for the left that is organizing against the Republican lawmaker.

Flynn also launched a new campaign website today, which can be found here.

NY-19: Former Diplomat And CIA Officer Enters Race

And yet another candidate in the 19th congressional district is announcing plans to run for the seat held by Republican Rep. John Faso.

Jeff Beals, a former diplomat and CIA officer, will announce his bid for the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley.

“I’ve come back to the Hudson Valley after service abroad to raise my family and give back to the place that gave so much to me,” Beals said. “I was part of a generation that thought we had won the Cold War and only needed to fight for democracy overseas, but I’ve come to believe it’s even more important to defend democracy here at home.”

Beals joins a crowded Democratic field that includes Brian Flynn, Antonio Delgado and Gareth Rhodes in the battleground House district. He plans to make the announce official on Friday.

“We need to get serious about beating John Faso — our health care, the wages of our working people, and our environment all depend on the outcome of the next congressional election,” Beals said. “We’re building a people’s campaign that will fight for the causes we believe in and take that fight to the Capitol.”