fasoannounceAs his Republican primary opponents focus on his record as a lobbyist, congressional candidate John Faso has turned his attention to someone who isn’t even in the race, for now: Democratic Ulster County Executive Mike Hein.

Faso’s campaign on Wednesday knocked Hein, a potential candidate, for what they said was a phony “draft” effort to get him into the race being conducted by local Democratic leaders in the Hudson Valley congressional district.

At the same time, the Faso team is questioning whether Hein can both run for Congress and serve as Ulster county executive, an office he was just re-elected to a month ago.

“It takes extraordinary arrogance, even for a hardcore Obama Democrat like Hein, to treat voters with such obvious disrespect,” said Faso campaign spokesman Dain Pascocello. “I don’t know if County Executive Hein has noticed, but voters have had it with politicians who say one thing and do another. Before he is even takes the oath of office, Hein is orchestrating an elaborate charade attempting to create an impression that he is being “drafted” as a candidate. It’s simple farce; but the joke, sadly, is on Ulster County taxpayers.”

Pascocello said it’s up to citizens and the media to press Hein on whether he’d seek the Democratic nod for Congress.

“Anyone who wants to hear Class ‘A’ doubletalk need only ask Mr. Hein if he’ll be running for congress next year while being paid a full time county executive salary from Ulster taxpayers,” Mr. Pascocello continued. “Just try to get a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.”

Faso’s concentration on who would likely be the most formidable Democrat in the race comes as two of his Republican primary foes, Assemblyman Peter Lopez and businessman Andrew Heaney, have knocked his work as an Albany lobbyist.

Faso, a former Assembly minority leader and 2006 nominee for governor, has worked for the firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips.

Lopez, a former Faso aide, has questioned whether Faso still has an understanding of the needs of constituents in the district, while a super PAC aligned with Heaney’s campaign released a video knocking his lobbying work.

The race for the 19th congressional district is a crowded and competitive one. Incumbent Republican Chris Gibson is retiring at the end of the current term and is considering a run for governor in 2018.