Capital Region

Voices of the 19th District

Residents sick of ads, ready for Election Day

Residents of the 19th Congressional District have experienced what it’s like to be targeted by political ads — delivered across all platforms — aimed at motivating them to participate in one of the tightest congressional races in America. 

According to the Oct. 22 Sprectrum News/Siena College Poll, incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, has a 1 percentage point lead over Democratic challenger Antonio Delgado. The poll showed Faso with 44 percent of likely voters’ support,  Delgado with 43 percent, and minor party candidates getting 6 percent. The remaining 7 percent were undecided. 

With a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percent, the poll revealed a statistical dead heat. 

A combined $15 million has been spent by supporters of Faso and Delgado during the race, the eighth-highest spending amount of all congressional races this year, according to, which is run by the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C.  

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Derek Tarbell, a musician who said he’s lived in the hamlet of Warnerville for about a year, said he sees advertisements for the Faso/Delgado race on all of his Internet social media accounts.

“I know every time we go on YouTube, with all the videos and stuff, we see the advertisements that say don’t vote for Antonio Delgado,” he said. “We get tired of seeing the commercials, to tell you the truth. I don’t know much about Antonio Delgado, but I do see a lot of commercials that say don’t vote for him. I find it interesting that they would spend all of this money on these commercials.”

Tarbell said he’s noticed the adds against Delgado seem to be very negative in tone, which he thinks is suspicious, but he isn’t registered to vote. 

Also online: Capital Region Election Guide 2018

“I don’t plan on it this year; maybe next year. I’m not that into politics,” he said.  

Leslie Rigly from Richmondville said she’s been inundated with more traditional political advertising, and she’s sick of it. 

“I’m astonished at the amount of money that’s apparently being spent on this because there are multiple fliers, PR pieces in the mail every day, and the phone is ringing, ‘Do you have a moment, can I talk to you?’ I’m getting tired of it. I want it to be Election Day, so I can stop getting phone calls and all of this paper in the mail; it goes right in my recycling box,” she said. “I do vote. I’m for Faso. I tend to be conservative. I don’t like what I’ve seen and heard about Delgado. Single-payer health care is a big one. Generally, that side of politics wants to raise taxes to pay for things, and generally, that side wants to do that.”

Timothy Knight, a graduate of SUNY Cobleskill with an AS/BS in communications, lives in Middleburgh and is a graduate student at the University at Albany pursuing a master’s degree in political communication. Knight said he was a registered Republican until 2016, when he decided he could no longer affiliate with a party that would support President Donald Trump. 

“I think this race between Congressman Faso and Antonio Delgado is indicative of things that are going on in the country. We have this race where we have a Republican, a Republican I actually voted for in 2016 because he had campaigned about being bipartisan and moderate and kind of following in the footsteps of Congressman Chris Gibson, when in fact he’s shown a complete misunderstanding of the issues facing people in this country.” 

Knight said he believes that many of the adds being run by supporters of Faso use “dog whistle” language, including by referring to Delgado as a “big city rapper.” 

Also online: Dynamic midterm campaign is challenging local academics

“You look at Mr. Delgado’s background, somebody that grew up in Schenectady, someone who has a law degree from Harvard, somebody who is a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford College, but there’s this one thing that they would have to try to dog whistle and make him out to be something he’s not, and I was completely expecting it, and it has been absolutely abhorrent and disgusting that they would go that route.

“There’s a lot of people in my community, and parts of the rural part of the 19th Congressional District that are already primed to be against Delgado because he’s a Democrat, and playing the ‘us versus them’ method is playing to the worst natural inhibitor of people’s decisions. So, I think it’s effective, but I also think it’s just morally bankrupt” 

John Butler, a self-described conservative from Cobleskill, said he’s sick of seeing Delgado’s ads. He also tends to agree with the negative ads he’s seen against Delgado.

“I’m really not a very political person,” he said. “All I can say is that I would never vote for Antonio Delgado. For one thing, his commercials are driving me insane. I think some of his values are not in the right place, and I guess that’s about all I can say.

“Based on the commercials, his interests are more from the city — New York City. His commercials — I see them every five minutes — oh my God, they were on my phone when I was checking the weather the other day. I was like, what?”

Also online: Capital Region Election Guide 2018

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