Those hoping to unseat incumbent congressman John Faso poured millions into the campaign coffers in the last few months, according to federal data. Six Democratic hopefuls are seeking their party’s nomination for the closely watched contest. Two of them, Dutchess County resident and corporate attorney Antonio Delgado and Greene County businessman Brian Flynn, managed to raise more than the incumbent did, relying on an enthusiastic donor base and nationwide attention on a “purple district.”
Numbers from Federal Elections Commission reports filed last month show Flynn, leading in the money race with $911,363 cash on hand. Delgado reported $880,620. Faso, who was elected to Congress in 2016 after a long career in state politics, had $744,205 in campaign cash at the close of 2017.
While Faso trails the leaders of the Democratic pack in campaign funds, he holds the advantages of incumbency, not least of which is a clear path to the November election with no primary opponents in sight. By contrast, the six Democrats vying for the seat, all newcomers to electoral politics, will need to spend heavily to earn name recognition and set themselves apart from their competition in a sprawling district that includes all of Ulster, Greene, Columbia, Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie and Sullivan counties and portions of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery and Rensselaer.
Flynn came into the race with a decided fundraising advantage in the form of a half-million-dollar personal loan to his own campaign. Aside from the loan, he has raised $605,000, including $210,325 in the last quarter of 2017. Delgado, meanwhile, led in the quarterly fundraising pulling in $427,437. Patrick Ryan, a Kingston native and Iraq War veteran came in second in quarterly fundraising with $315,000. Of the six Democrats, he placed third in cash on hand at the end of 2017 with $713,688.
The three remaining Democrats in the race, David Clegg, Gareth Rhodes and Jeffrey Beals, demonstrated enough fundraising strength to keep themselves within varying distances from their better-funded rivals. Rhodes, a law student and onetime press aide to governor Andrew Cuomo, raised $153,191 during the last quarter of 2017. Clegg, a Kingston-based attorney, took in $62,214. Beals, a former State Department officer turned schoolteacher, reported $59,685 in fourth-quarter donations.