Two Democratic candidates in the crowded race to unseat congressman John Faso managed to out-raise the incumbent during the third quarter of 2017. A third, Greene County businessman Brian Flynn, leads the money race overall after he pumped a half-million dollars of his own fortune into the campaign. Democratic candidates say the numbers, contained in mandated quarterly reports to the Federal Elections Commission, indicate that voters across the New York 19th Congressional District and beyond are already tuned in to the race.
“The fact that [Faso] is being outraised, as a sitting member, shows how vulnerable he is,” maintained Patrick Ryan, one of six Democrats vying for the party’s nomination in the next year’s congressional election. “He’s running scared.”
Ryan has raised $325,954 in individual contributions over the third quarter. Another $50,000 came to his campaign from a political action committee devoted to electing veterans (Ryan is a former Army officer and Iraq war vet) and other campaign committees. Overall, Ryan has raised $589,769 since entering the race in June. As of the close of the reporting period on October 15, Ryan had $521,656 in his campaign war chest.
The overall top fundraiser for the third quarter was Rhinebeck based corporate attorney Antonio Delgado. Over the course of the quarter Delgado raised $395,086 in individual contributions and another $7250 from the Congressional Black Caucus and other PACS. Delgado, who began raising money in January, has raised a little over a million dollars since then. At the close of the reporting period, he had $880,620 cash on hand.
Faso trailed significantly behind his challengers in individual contributions. Records show Faso raised $186,993 from individuals over the third quarter and $519,632 since January. During the third quarter Faso also raised $87,300 from PACS representing unions, retail, manufacturing and agricultural interests.
Flynn has raised less than the Democratic frontrunners, records show. $111,037 in individual contributions in third quarter and $359,250 since January. But the Greene County business owner has loaned his campaign $650,000. As a result, Flynn ended the quarter with a $911,362 cash on hand, the most of any candidate in the race.
Kingston-based attorney David Clegg is another candidate relying heavily on self-funding. Clegg, who entered the race in July, filed his first quarterly report earlier this month. It shows that he raised a total of $95,998 in individual contributions, contributed $11,182 of his own money to the campaign, and loaned the effort another $110,000 in personal funds. Clegg ended the reporting period with $179,543 in campaign cash.
Jeffrey Beals, a former state department officer and Woodstock schoolteacher, has staked his candidacy on harnessing the energy of newly minted local activist groups like “Indivisible.” Beals raised $58,757 and loaned his campaign another $56,000 in personal funds.
Gareth Rhodes is also hoping a grass-roots approach will give him an edge over his more financially flush competitors. Rhodes, an Esopus native and onetime press aide to governor Andrew Cuomo, is taking time off from his studies at Harvard Law School for the campaign. Rhodes raised $162,034 during the third quarter for a total of $296,094 since entering the race in April. Rhodes said that he was proud of his fundraising efforts reliance on small-dollar donations. Five hundred people, he said, had made $19 donations as part of his 19 for the 19th campaign, while another 1000 had made donation of $100 or less. Rhodes said that pattern of small-denominations contributions aligned with his campaigns strategy of a never- ending RV tour of every town in the sprawling eleven-county congressional district.
“I’m not spending my time designing commercials,” said Rhodes. “I’m going out to the firehouses and the farms and the towns all over the district, because that’s where this race will be won.”
Several NY 19 candidates said that their fundraising totals in a race that began a year before most primary battles start shaping up reflected an energized party base and a vulnerable incumbent. Faso, a veteran of the state senate, won election as a pragmatic, policy-oriented Republican. But since taking office in January he has been shackled to the unpopular effort by Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare. Faso has also taken heat for declining to appear at town-hall meetings organized by progressive activist groups.
“Traditionally the incumbent has a lot of advantages when it comes to fundraising because they’re in Congress and they’re in D.C.,” said Delgado Campaign manager Nichole Johnson. “The fact that you have challengers who are out-raising incumbents is very indicative of the energy and the momentum out there.”