NEW PALTZ – There was
no clear front-runner following a third Democratic debate of Congressional
hopefuls vying for the nomination to challenge incumbent Republican John
Faso in the upcoming 2018 election for U.S. House of Representatives,
Six remaining candidates spoke at a forum held Wednesday evening at SUNY
New Paltz, hosted by the campus Young Democrats and Oracle student newspaper.
They deliberated for two hours on issues including health care, women’s
rights, and campaign finance reform.
The contenders are, in alphabetical order, Jeff Beals, David Clegg, Antonio
Delgado, Brian Flynn, Gareth Rhodes, and Pat Ryan. Two former candidates,
Steven Brisee and Sue Sullivan, both dropped out after a previous Kingston
forum in August. A second six-way debate was held last month in Hudson.
While all six candidates agreed that their mutual Republican opponent
must be defeated, each felt that he was the best man to take the job.
“John Faso does not deserve the right to represent this community.
We have got to find a candidate to match up against him,” said Ryan,
an Iraq war veteran citing his military service as example of personal
Rhodes, who was raised a farmer, harkened his grassroots Winnebago campaign
to a young struggling Maurice Hinchey. “That’s what I’m
doing in this District, that’s why I’m going to win,”
Flynn, speaking in a stern gravelly voice, called himself the antidote
to John Faso. ”I’ve got deep roots here in this district,”
he said. ”It’s not stuff that I talk about, its stuff that
I’ve done, and keep doing each day,” he noted. ”We will
end John Faso’s betrayal,” Flynn added.
Delgado assured the crowd that he has raised the highest amount of campaign
funds. ”You want a candidate who works twice as hard,” he
said. ”I’ve raised the most money on this stage, we’re
going to every corner of this district,” he said.
Clegg stood on his record as a human rights commissioner, trial laWyer,
and Methodist deacon. ”I have cross examined hundreds of expert
witnesses, many of them far slicker than John Faso, and taken them down,”
Beals called his race a solemn task and mission, saying Faso represents
giant corporations. ”The right message is somebody with experience,
something I have tremendous amount, having served both parties,”
he said, claiming his CIA diplomat career provides the right recipe for
Whichever candidate prevails at the Democratic primary later next Summer
has a tough road ahead to unseat the incumbent Faso, all agreed –
based on the millions in money the Republican enjoys from conservative
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