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Hudson Valley News

NY's 18th Congressional District Race Is A Battle To The End

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As Hillary Clinton rallied for New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney on Monday, talk of the combative rematch in the 18th District continued. As WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne reports, dueling campaign ads show the bitter contest is tightening in the final days of the election.

A recent ad from Republican Nan Hayworth figuratively slings lunch meat at her opponent, incumbent Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney.

[The ad features a compendium of voices.] “Sean Maloney is a phony baloney. He’s full of baloney. Sean Maloney is full of baloney. That’s right, Sean Maloney is a phony baloney. Baloney.”

Minutes after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at a “Women for Maloney” rally in Somers, Maloney characterized the phony baloney ad.

“Oh, I don’t know, maybe third grade or so, but that would probably be unfair to third graders. I think the truth is we could do better. We owe the voters a little more than name calling and nonsense,” says Maloney. “I’ve heard it from people for a couple of years now. They’re sick of that. They’re sick of the fighting and the division. They want us to work together. That’s why I’m in the top 3 percent of all members of Congress for bipartisanship because I heard it from the voters. They want us to work together. And that kind of name calling doesn’t create jobs, it doesn’t create good schools, or invest in our infrastructure. It doesn’t help middle-class families. It’s just name calling and it’s wrong.”

Terrence Michos is spokesman for Hayworth, who was Maloney’s predecessor in Congress. Michos says the ad is working.

“Every person that comes up to us on the street telling us about this says, ‘I can’t get it out of my head,’” says Michos. “And so it’s obviously effective. That’s why they’re concerned about it.”

[The ad features a compendium of voices.] “Sean Maloney is full of baloney. Phony baloney. He’s a baloney head in Washington. I’m Nan Hayworth and I approved this message.”  

And the visual to go along with baloney head is a piece of baloney slapped on Maloney’s face. Maloney says it’s not the ad that offends him.

“Look, I’m a member of Congress; she can say what she wants,” says Maloney. “What offends me is what she wants to do to the middle class. What offends me is that she wants to destroy Planned Parenthood, she wants to go after Medicare and Social Security. That’s the real issue we need to focus on. I can take the heat.”

Meanwhile, the Maloney campaign released an ad called “Agree” October 28 featuring the congressman’s former boss, President Bill Clinton, under who Maloney served as senior advisor.

“Sean Maloney’s got a better jobs plan, he’s got a better budget plan, he’s got a better education plan. He’s got a better plan for the future.”

It also features Republican state Senator Bill Larkin.

“He has taken a position of let’s work together for the people we represent. He has been a staunch supporter of veterans.”

Maloney has touted support from other Republicans, like state Senator Greg Ball and New Windsor Town Supervisor George Green. Meanwhile, Hayworth has her own cross-party supporters, such as Dutchess County Legislator Gwen Johnson. In fact, the Hayworth campaign in early October released an ad called “Always Here” featuring Johnson.

“Nan is a genuine person as she actually really does care for our seniors, the working families. She’s always here. That’s why I’m supporting her,” Johnson says. “I’m a Democrat.  I’m supporting Nan Hayworth because we have to cross party lines for the best person.”

And while some of the ads may seem staid, the debates have been heated and the race, just like in 2012, is close and contentious. Michos accuses Maloney of running the Hudson Valley’s most negative campaign. Maloney calls Hayworth a Tea Party radical. She calls him an Obama Democrat who sides with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi a majority of the time. The list goes on.

It’s a contest in which a third candidate wishes he had a bigger role. While the 18th District race is being closely followed, one of its candidates is not, much to his disappointment. Former Middletown councilman and Goshen resident Scott Smith has a ballot line -- Mr. Smith for Congress. He criticizes the press for ignoring him.

“The papers still really aren’t running the story too much,” says Smith. “Most of the publications still report it as simply the Hayworth/Maloney race, when really it is in fact the Smith/Maloney/Hayworth race.”

As for the major party candidates, Hayworth has the endorsement of former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney. And she won the Independence Party primary amid expected light voter turnout. Maloney, meanwhile, picked up an endorsement October 24 from The New York Times.

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