The Democratic primary for New York’s 19th congressional district has attracted more than its share of national attention, due to a diverse lot of candidates, the perceived vulnerability of the Republican candidate and its proximity to New York City, where many journalists are based.
Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has written two stories on the race so far (here and here) under the heading “The Battle of Woodstock”; the Intercept published a lengthy article accusing candidate Pat Ryan of spying on left-wing activists while working at a tech company (Ryan has said he was a mid-level employee who raised objections, and the program never was implemented); Gareth Rhodes received a less hostile but no less extensive write up in Politico titled “The congressional candidate from Cuomoland, among many other overviews of the race.
Many of those articles have appeared in The New York Times, which yesterday announced its endorsement of Gareth Rhodes. According to the Times:
Mr. Rhodes is a charismatic former press aide for Gov. Andrew Cuomo who grew up on a farm in the district. Motoring around the district in a small Winnebago, he has visited all 163 towns. He has listened closely to the woes of dairy farmers in dire straits, to families who have had to travel hundreds of miles to the closest maternity ward, to students struggling to pay off student loans.
Mr. Rhodes backs Medicare for all, a health care reform meant to bring Americans closer to the kind of universal system enjoyed in all other industrialized nations. Details matter, and there are several Democratic-backed proposals on the table, but Mr. Rhodes sees the conversation as a way to jump-start negotiations on health care fixes.
Among those in this worthy field, Mr. Rhodes stands out as the best candidate to take on — and beat — Mr. Faso in November. He offers the combination of intelligence, enthusiasm and empathy that is desperately needed in Washington today.
The editorial touched on each of the candidates, in most cases giving a reason or a hint for why they were passed over for the nod.
Jeff Beals is described as “intense” and the fact that he moved to the district is mentioned, as is his embrace of the Bernie Sanders platform (The Times of course endorsed Clinton in 2016). Antonio Delgado’s employment at Akin Gump, a large lobbying firm, and his relatively recent early-2017 move to the district is mentioned. “Local roots should count this year, especially since voters have been so involved,” states the editorial. Brian Flynn’s “connection to a firm that shifted positions from New York to the Dominican Republic has dogged him throughout the campaign.” That’s a reference to AccuMED, of which Flynn was president and COO. Pat Ryan is dismissed due to the questions about surveillance. Dave Clegg and Erin Collier get a pass.
Both Rolling Stone articles dealt with Beals’ various issues with the Democratic Party, from fundraising to his “Dem-on-Dem violence,” as his criticisms of other candidates were termed. This Friday, listeners of This American Life will hear even more from the former CIA intelligence officer and diplomat. According to a promo for the episode titled “It’s My Party and I’ll Try if I Want To”:
For months a congressional candidate in New York State has talked frankly on the record with us about all the stuff going on behind the scenes in his district as Democrats battle each other: progressives thinking moderates are dooming the party to failure, and vice versa. His tell-all, this week.
(The promo doesn’t mention Beals; his campaign spilled the beans in a release previewing the show.)
The primary election is June 26.