Tuesday, June 26: Wooing a party base fired up by the election of Donald Trump and Faso’s perceived vulnerability, the candidates have jostled for the “true progressive” mantle while trying to make the case that they can prevail in a congressional district where success has dangled just out of reach for three election cycles.
To a greater or lesser degree, six of the candidates are running on their potential to serve our community. Dave Clegg is running on his record of serving our community. His work in helping to found Ulster’s Habitat for Humanity and the Darmstadt homeless shelter, as well as his service on the county Human Rights Commission, the board of the Caring Hands Soup Kitchen and as public defender stands head and shoulders above the local achievements of any other candidate.
Clegg picked up the support of former county surrogate court judge Mary Work; Delgado, the wife and daughter of long-time Congressman Maurice Hinchey; Rhodes, several unions; and Flynn, the Latino Democrats of Dutchess County.
The New York Times says Gareth Rhodes is the best candidate to take on and beat John Faso and this Friday’s This American Life will feature candidate Jeff Beals talking “frankly on the record … about all the stuff going on behind the scenes.”
Do you think the system is rigged in favor of corporations and the rich and against everyone else? That fundraising success in a candidate is a signal that they’ll be on the side of the big money and against the little guy when it counts, no matter what they tell you? That we need a sharp-elbowed fighter openly antagonistic to Wall Street, corporate America and members of his own party willing to play ball with those forces? That Democrats are losing not because they aren’t appealing to moderates but because they aren’t supporting bold and sweeping proposals that directly address the problems of the 99 percent? Then Jeff Beals just may be your guy.
It would appear that running for Congress is good for your health. After months and months of grueling campaigning, the Democratic candidates in the local congressional primary are in pretty good shape, however harried and weary at this point.
A local town official, when asked what she thinks of the candidate, says, “She got into the race late, so she’s got a tough road ahead. She has the agricultural community on her side. She’s young and female. Those are all good.”
His weekends include shuttling among forums, meet-and-greets, and festivals where he can chat with voters. On weekdays, he goes to meetings with local Democratic committees and groups representing specific issues such as opioid recovery or Medicare for all. “This Tuesday, we hit meetings in all five counties,” Flynn says.
Ryan believes his profile as a U.S. Military Academy graduate, combat veteran and Kingston native with deep roots in his hometown is the right mix to present progressive ideas, like single-payer healthcare and an assault weapons ban, to a largely rural district split near-evenly between Republicans, Democrats and non-party-enrolled voters.
Gareth Rhodes recently completed his Winnebago trip to all 163 towns in the NY-19. The Ulster County native and former Cuomo aide shares many positions with his competitors for the Democratic nomination. What makes Rhodes different is he spends just as much time talking about local issues that don’t map neatly on to the left vs. right divide, including the lack of a maternity ward in three counties in this district, dealing with falling numbers of volunteer EMTs and firemen and fixing sidewalks damaged by snow plows.