19th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT — The race between Republican U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, and Democrat challenger Antonio Delgado has garnered increased national attention approaching the end of the week, culminating in a scathing op-ed published by the New York Times Editorial Board.
"Representative John Faso must think very little of his constituents in New York’s 19th Congressional District in the Hudson Valley and the Catskill Mountains," the editorial board wrote. "He’s counting on them to be bigots."
The coverage has mainly focused on revelations stemming from a New York Post article detailing Delgado's short-lived rap career under the stage name AD The Voice. The Daily Gazette wrote about the back-and-forth between the campaigns over the weekend.
In his 2006 album "Painfully Free," Delgado, who could be the first African American to represent the Hudson Valley district in Congress, used the N-word and lamented what the song frames as morally troubling aspects of capitalism. Much of Delgado's music also examines the legacy of slavery.
The Faso campaign has largely issued the same statement to every publication covering the music, including in Vox — a news website specializing in think-piece explainers — saying Delgado's lyrics "are not consistent with the views of most people in our district, nor do they represent a true reflection of our nation."
Critics, like the Times's Editorial Board, have argued the attacks are meant to stoke racial animus in the campaign.
The Delgado campaign has largely tried to stay above the fray, issuing a statement on social media that said "
Our campaign is entirely committed to focusing on the issues and what can bring people together, not personal attacks grounded in hate and divisiveness."
Faso's campaign manager, Tom Syzmanski, said the campaign has tweaked the response slightly, but that the campaign's focus continues to be on the content of the lyrics and whether Delgado still believes their message to be true.
Meanwhile, the Delgado campaign, which boasts a $400,000 fundraising advantage over Faso's with DCCC money still on the way, has released its second and third ads of the general election.
The first, titled "Accountability," focuses on Delgado's parents, particularly his father, William, and how they raised their son.
"I didn't raise my children for myself," Delgado's father says in the ad. "I raised them for the world."
Delgado credits his parents in the ad with instilling in him "a desire to serve."
The second ad, "Forward," focuses on Delgado's Schenectady "working class" roots. It also presents his intellectual pedigree: Degrees from Colgate University and Harvard Law, along with a Rhodes Scholarship.
A release sent out by the campaign said both will be airing on television and digital platforms throughout the district.
As Delgado continues to campaign around the district, Faso will host a veterans resource seminar in Columbia County on Friday at Columbia Greene Community College at 2 p.m.
The race should heat up even more as the August recess for Congress approaches, allowing Faso more time to campaign in the district.