This week in NY-19: Rhodes picks up Times endorsement, Beals “tell-all” to air on This American Life

Gareth Rhodes at a pancake breakfast in Esopus (Will Dendis)

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.

Read our recent article on Rhodes’ candidacy.

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.


Beals at a Medicare for All event at Stockade Wellness in Kingston (Will Dendis)


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.)


Reporters from Hudson Valley One spent time with each of the candidates over the last few weeks. You can read that series here and read all our coverage of the race here.

The primary election is June 26.

District 19 (Wikipedia)

There are 6 comments

  1. Steve Dunda

    Jeff Beals did NOT move into the Congressional District 19 in 2016 – he moved to WOODSTOCK in 2016. He moved back to his family’s Hudson Valley farm, where he grew up, in 2011. Delgado did NOT move to upscale Rhinebeck, where a lot of rich NYC people have 2nd homes, in 2016 – he moved there in 2017, and was able to afford a $.6 million house. Very soon after, he JOINED the Democratic Party (he had quit the party in 2014 while living in New Jersey), then immediately after that filed the paperwork to be a candidate.

    1. The Editor

      The Beals farm is located in Putnam County, outside NY-19.

      You’re right about Delgado: Article has been changed to reflect that he moved to Rhinebeck in early 2017, not 2016.

  2. JamaicaonHudson

    Meh, I expected as much–and, for the record, I never trusted Beals. The whole “CIA-Agent-Turned-Farmer-Schoolteacher/Bernie Sanders-Doppleganger” struck me as odd…You know, when something doesn’t pass the “smells” test. Apparently HRC’s old campaign manager, Bennet Ratcliff, got bored and picked up a new project. That could explain why, despite the “anti-corporate” packaging, Beals’ campaign relies on the the corporate-owned media (and spends most of their time fighting other Democrats). Not sure why any self-proclaimed “Progressive” would do that?

    In anycase, it should also be noted that this district is a microcosm of the nation’s political landscape: some red some blue, a lot of purple. Unfortunately, the previous election-cycle was a battle between the extreme left and the extreme right. Those not aligned with the extremists, didn’t identify with any of the candidates (not Trump, Hilary, or Bernie) and abstained. Why? The average American voter is not an extremist. The same holds true for voters in CD-19 (which is why I question the logic of employing the same losing strategy and expecting a different result).

    The bottom-line is, when running for office, likability matters. I like most of the Democratic candidates. They all, with the exception of two, would get my vote in a general election. I favor Delgado (intelligence/work ethic/social intelligence), Clegg (principles/morals) and Collier (reppin’ for the ladies); I’d hold my nose and vote for Rhodes (mini-Cuomo) or Flynn (arrogant/nice teeth &hair). I will not, under any circumstances, vote for Faso (lobbyist/agoraphobe/weirdo). Not due to party affiliation (as I didn’t mind Gibson) but simply because he’s been a disaster for this district. Ideally, I want our next representative to first enjoy representing the people who put him (or her) in office. I’m not fond of candidates who squander their precious time (and money) pandering to ‘folks outside of the district, smearing other members of their own party, or whining about the unfairness of a process of which they are currently benefiting from.

    I also don’t care for liars.

    Hopefully, after this latest tantrum, the candidates will get back to the issues impacting the voters in this district (i.e. the economy/jobs, diversification of energy sources, environmental issues, healthcare, and the plethora of social crises impacting swaths of the demographic). After which the voters will (again, hopefully) pick a winner not a whiner, and we can restore a bit of dignity/sanity to the office.

    If not, I’ll hit the ‘booth in 2020.

  3. Due Dilegence

    “If your not part of the solution you are part of the problem”
    John Faso and other republicans have exploited the following problems and issues with democratic candidates that have helped them win recent elections.
    Problem- Carpetbagging! Candadates with no roots in the community who recently decided to reside in the 19th district to qualify for a election.
    Problem- Cadadates with affiliations and support from unpopular current politicians and Office holders with ethic and integrity issues
    Problem- campaign money raised outside of 19th district by special interests
    Problem-Candidates who have been associated with questionable industries and employment

    Dave Clegg is the solution!!
    Dave Clegg for last thirty-seven years has been a resident and volunteer who has supported numerous community projects in the 19th Congressional district. He communicates his knowledge on the issues of healthcare, education, human rights and environmental issues with the same zeal and commitment that he brought to his law practice. He is running to serve the community he loves. Rolling Stone Magazine describes his resume as one that sounds like character from a Frank Capra movie. (heroic , honest, community driven for the people)

  4. Stephen Dunda

    Dear JamaicaonHudson: not everyone who works for the CIA is a spy – I have a cousin who works for the FBI In DC – he’s the director of the “Congressional Liaison Department.” Jeff is not a “self-proclaimed” Progressive, he’s been proclaimed that by the Justice Democrats, and he had to pass a lot of rigid tests to earn their endorsement. Check out their website, and check out mine:


     Is it really possible that All seven candidates for the NY19 Democratic Congressional Primary are equally “Progressive,” and equally believe in “getting big money out of politics?” 

    Antonio Delgado’s huge lobbying firm contributed $143,565. He earned $329,000 in 2016 and $217,000 through July 2017 working as a CORPORATE LAWYER, representing CORPORATE clients, for the largest lobbying firm in the country; his assets total $990,000. He moved to upscale Rhinebeck, where many rich New York City residents have second homes.  just last year, and was able to afford a $539,500 house. He wasn’t even a Democrat until after he moved to Rhinebeck! He had quit the party in 2014 while living in New Jersey. So far I have received TEN huge, multi-page glossy campaign brochures from him.  

    The New Democrat Coalition PAC, which supports “business-friendly conservative Democrats,” supports Pat Ryan. Ryan’s Super PAC, “With Honor,” was busted for calling voters to bash Delgado. At Berico, Ryan tried selling spying technology to business lobbyists to monitor Democratic activists and labor unions. He too has sent me 10 expensive campaign brochures.  

    Brian Flynn made big money while holding lucrative CEO positions at FOUR major corporations, closed his Buffalo factory, and moved his employees to North Carolina and the Dominican Republic. His former coworker is being sued for fraud and civil conspiracy. And – you guessed it – TEN expensive brochures from him. The Albany Times Union reports “Flynn is a fairly new full-time resident to Elka Park, a hamlet in Greene County. On his campaign website, both the residency and jobs issues were once addressed at length, but those explanations have been removed. “Candidates’ residency histories are of secondary concern for voters, he said.” “That doesn’t matter,” Flynn said. “What have you done in life? What are you going to do for me?” When President Donald Trump was elected in November 2016, Flynn was still only registered to vote at an apartment in Manhattan, a borough where he had been a voter for many years. He changed his registration to his current Greene County address on November 29, 2016.” His website currently states that he was born in Rochester and grew up in New Jersey. So apparently, he is referring to his grandparents and his great uncle when he talks about “deep roots” in Greene County. I believe he is way too rich to relate to us working class voters.

    Rhodes actually brags that he worked for Cuomo! He also brags that he’s “the top grassroots fundraiser.” What he fails to mention is that Cuomo aides and ex-Obama staffers are fundraising for him. Also, Spectrum News and POLITICO have reported that Rhodes has dodged questions from the National Republican Campaign Committee to address the upcoming corruption trials of his former colleagues, including Cuomo “right-hand-man” Joe Percoco and three businessmen. Percoco, who Cuomo has called “My father’s third son,” has now been CONVICTED on three charges. Dave Clegg – like Delgado, do we really want another lawyer in Congress? Dave is SO NICE, and thus I believe he underperformed in the debates. I can’t imagine him debating a bill in committee. His record of volunteer work, community service, and church work is longer than both of my arms – SO I WANT TO KEEP HIM HERE IN KINGSTON TO KEEP DOING THAT GREAT WORK, NOT WASTE HIS VIRTUOUSNESS IN WASHINGTON! Erin Collier – see ALL SEVEN CANDIDATES’ details at my website:
    The REAL Progressive is Jeff Beals – the ONLY candidate endorsed by the JUSTICE DEMOCRATS, a national organization of former Bernie staffers working for a People’s Platform using grassroots fundraising. They’ve endorsed 52 candidates nationwide from all backgrounds – creating a pre-formed caucus to run AS A SLATE, to get money out of politics and create progressive legislation. Therefore, Congressman Jeff would have a coalition of representatives to work with! Jeff has 11 years of government experience. As a CIA analyst, he briefed Congress and wrote for President Clinton’s Daily Brief. As a decorated State Department Diplomat, fluent in Arabic, he worked many years in Iraq: creating the first diplomatic talks and helping to create an Iraqi constitution. Growing up he worked on a farm and is now a schoolteacher. Jeff’s diplomatic work under both Republican and Democratic administrations will help Republicans and Democrats work together.

  5. Steven L Fornal

    Great piece! However, you leave out the only real candidate able to beat Faso. Of the bunch, only two are born and raised in the district they wish to represent: Rhodes and Collier. As you point out, the Cuomo connection will be used to tar and feather him during general campaign.

    Only Erin Collier is born and raised, went to school here and excelled (magna cum laude), is of an eight generation farm family, grew up without money and worked as an agricultural economist for the UN so she’s never had money.

    Not to mention she’s a woman during a particularly good time for political inclusion of women.

    Erin Collier is the winning ticket.

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