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New York 19th Congressional District, NY — A poll from Sienna Research published on October 22 has Republican incumbent congressman John Faso out ahead of Democratic challenger Antonio Delgado by 44% to 43%, in a race that many analysts say is too close to call. Faso is leaning hard on the fact that he has been rated as the 18th most bipartisan member of the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, while Delgado asserts that Faso wants to take away healthcare from his constituents or make it more expensive, saying, “We can do better.”
The candidates sparred with each other in a televised debate on WMHT-TV in Albany on October 19. The first questions of the debate concerned attack ads against Delgado paid for by the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. The ads touched on a rap album Delgado released in 2007, which included lyrics using the “n” word. The New York Times labeled the ads “race-baiting.”
Delgado said, “I think the ads are deeply unfortunate, and they speak to a climate right now that is divisive and ugly, and we can do better.” He added that the country is moving “away from cooperation and communication with each other with decency and respect.”
He noted that Woodstock radio pulled the ads and 18 members of clergy denounced the ads. Former Congressman Chris Gibson also noted the “regrettable” tone of the ads. Delgado said, “We have to get beyond this if we really want to solve complicated problems.”
For more information on candidates' views on healthcare this election season, read our editorial here.
Faso responded saying, “I would simply point out that those are not my ads. Those ads are provocative and Mr. Delgado’s words are provocative in terms of what he said about women, about law enforcement, about our founding fathers... But the fact of the matter is, I have to tell you, I do regret the notion that somehow these ads were mine because they’re not. But I’ll tell you this: I reject the support of anyone who would vote for me because of Mr. Delgado’s race.”
The candidates also addressed the ongoing investigation of President Donald Trump by special prosecutor Bob Mueller and whether Trump should be impeached. Faso said, “I don’t believe impeachment is warranted. I do think that there’s no doubt that the president is a polarizing figure, and what I’ve tried to do during my tenure is to work with the other side.”
Delgado noted that the investigation is ongoing and that no decision about impeachment should be made until the conclusion of the investigation.
After the debate, both campaigns immediately claimed victory. The Faso campaign’s communications director, Joe Gierut, sent an email with the subject, “Faso Drubs Delgado in Televised WMHT Debate.” The email said, “Ultimately, the people of the 19th district will see through Antonio Delgado’s copy-and-paste talking points and support a proven problem solver who ranks as the 18th most bipartisan member of the House of Representatives.”
John Faso had to answer questions about his record and his broken promises to constituents.”
Delgado’s communications director sent an email with the subject, “Delgado Comes Out Strong and Faso Lies at First Debate.” The email quoted campaign manager Allyson Marcus, saying, “Without being able to hide behind corporate donors or party leadership, John Faso had to answer questions about his record and his broken promises to constituents.”