Delgado claims victory in NY-19

Congressman Antonio Delgado speaks on the SUNY New Paltz campus during the fall 2019 semester. Photo courtesy of Susanna Granieri.
NEW YORK — In a tight race that kept Congressional District 19 constituents on the edge of their seats, Democrat Congressman Antonio Delgado has unofficially defeated Republican Kyle Van de Water for this year’s open seat. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, early voting was a staple in New York’s election, garnering around 2.2 million early voters, according to the Associated Press. In District 19 as of Nov. 1, there are 476,023 active voters: 163,051 Democrats and 146,056 Republicans, along with other parties who make up the rest of the voter population. In 2016, District 19 had a majority of pro-Trump voters, according to the New York State Board of Elections, with majority votes for Trump/Pence in eight out of 11 represented counties. This in turn proves why Van De Water mainly aligned himself with President Trump’s ideologies, because he believed constituents would vote similarly in 2020 as they did in the 2016 presidential election. On the other hand, Congressman Delgado has held the seat since he unseated Republican incumbent John Faso in 2018, taking over 51 percent of the total votes cast. Congressman Delgado’s approach to the election was different and focused more strongly on the demographics in the district, such as high school and college-age students, and people with children. Ulster County, home to the SUNY New Paltz, is within District 19. Congressman Delgado’s support for a more affordable education for college students could sway younger voters who are financially struggling, whether currently or in the future due to school costs. “For those who dream of going to college, I am working to make college more affordable for every member of our district, by supporting the expansion of Pell Grants and increasing opportunities for student loan forgiveness and relief, including through public service,” according to Congressman Delgado’s website.  “That means new opportunities both for high school kids as well as folks who want to go to college later in life.” In September, Congressman Delgado announced funding for the Student Support Services Program at SUNY Ulster, totaling $600,000 in funding. The U.S. Department of Education issued two awards: $347,108 to assist 230 “low-income and first-generation students,” and $261,888 to “support 100 students with disabilities.” On Oct. 12, both prospective congressmen took part in a debate to defend the basis for their campaigns. In their opening statements, it is clear that both candidates have a different idea of democracy and different goals if elected. “I saw the direction that the country was going into,” Van de Water said, in reference to his reason for running for Congress. “I saw the fact that Nancy Pelosi, who my opponent has voted with 99 percent of the time, has turned this country over to the far left.” “I am here to tell you that we can get through it. We can get through it if we come together. If we work together,” Delgado said. “If we put people before politics. If we think about the community, love our neighbors, show compassion and do the work.” Van De Water’s statement toward constituents, however, does not accurately reflect the moderate Democratic views that Congressman Delgado represents. At the time of this debate, Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination was still being discussed. Congressman Delgado believed that it wasn’t right to rush her nomination, or expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court to pack with Democrats. This is typically a far-left, liberal ideology, and Congressman Delgado disagreed. “It is important that we all here collectively step back and think about how we can reintroduce our democratic norms, norms like restraint,” Delago said. “I think it is wrong to both decide to pack the court and to rush [the confirmation].” While most of the debate had typical responses for a partisan race, Van De Water notably opposed a national mask mandate, arguing that local communities should implement different health practices and be “fearless.” In opposition, Delgado responded: “it’s okay to be fearless, but you can’t be careless.” Incumbent Delgado, as of 7 p.m. on Nov. 5, has received 50.3 percent of the votes, or 141,997, and Van De Water is following marginally behind with 47.7 percent of the votes, or 134,608, according to the Associated Press. As of now, it looks as though 100 percent of votes have been reported, and Congressman Delgado can unofficially expect District 19’s congressional seat.