Voters in New York’s 19th Congressional District are deciding whether to elect Republican John Faso for a second term or go with Democrat Antonio Delgado. Polls since late summer have portrayed the race as a dead heat. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne was out at a few polling places this morning.
In a swing district getting national attention, it’s been a fierce race with nonstop ads and allegations, some coming from the candidates’ campaigns themselves and others from their parties and political action committees. Now it’s time to see how effective the candidates were in their messaging. Delgado cast his ballot this morning in Rhinebeck, in Dutchess County.
“Feels good, man, feels good,” Delgado said.
Congressman Faso cast his ballot in Kinderhook, Columbia County. Here’s Delgado:
“It’s been a long, long journey,” says Delgado. “And to be here after all the work, connecting with so many folks all across this district, it feels very gratifying and very meaningful for me and my family.”
Meantime, Faso says he understands the issues in the district that spans 11 counties and that he has accomplished much as a freshman, especially in tackling the heroin epidemic. Speaking on WAMC’s Congressional Corner, Faso offered a closing statement.
“I believe deeply in our country, in our Constitution. I believe deeply that we have to conduct ourselves in a civil and courteous manner in public discourse,” said Faso. “That’s what I have tried to do and that’s what I will continue to do if I’m honored with reelection.”
Delgado says health care is his number-one priority and it has been a battleground issue between him and Faso. Ads from Delgado’s camp point to Faso’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and say the congressman has left constituents with pre-existing conditions to fend for themselves. Faso’s camp says there are lies in Delgado’s health care platform. The National Republican Congressional Committee put out controversial ads that attack Delgado’s former rap career and paint the Rhodes scholar as anti-American. Both sides have had big-name politicians at their sides. House Speaker Paul Ryan and, more recently, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise have been in New York 19 campaigning for Faso. Former Vice President Joe Biden was in Kingston at the end of October headlining a rally for Delgado.
Meantime, in a few of the smaller districts, election workers say turnout has been brisk. In Rhinebeck, where Delgado voted, a Democratic poll inspector said turnout has been very heavy. Usually there are just a couple people waiting for the doors to open at 6 a.m., while today there were 12. She said voters have been coming and going nonstop and that turnout, as of this morning, had been heavier than in 2016. Some 30 minutes away, in the small, rural Town of Stanford, poll workers there said turnout has been double the usual.
I spoke with a few voters in Dutchess County this morning… a few Democrats say they felt it was important to vote the party line in an attempt to bring the country back to the middle for more rational conversations. One Democrat says she doesn’t always vote blue but said it was important to do so this time. And I spoke with a Republican couple who say they are tired of the fake news and what they perceive as socialist values among Democrats that weren’t so prevalent historically.
Green Party candidate Steve Greenfield and Independent Diane Neal are also on the ballot in this House race.