Pro-Trump Van de Water tries to unseat first-term Delgado in NY-19

Congressman Antonio Delgado gives a speech at the SUNY New Paltz campus in the fall of 2019. Photo courtesy of Susanna Granieri.

In New York’s 19th Congressional District the election between Democrat Antonio Delgado and Republican challenger Kyle Van De Water seems to be a dog fight in the making. Incumbent Delgado is looking to take advantage of motivated Democrats and progressive -leaning independent voters in New York’s Hudson Valley, while opponent Van De Water is looking to pull off a major upset using his pro-Trump approach.

Delgado, a graduate of Colgate University and Harvard Law School, won the 2018 election in New York’s 19th district, taking over 51% of the total votes cast. Delgado will again represent the Democratic Party, Working Families Party, Serve America Movement Party and the Independence Party in his 2020 reelection campaign.

Delgado wants higher taxes on the rich, better job protection for blue-collar workers like farmers, a public option for Medicare as well as environmental protections in the Hudson Valley.

Van De Water, a U.S. veteran and graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Albany Law School, is the nominee of the Republican Party and Conservative Parties. The district voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, and Van De Water has taken the approach of trying to align himself with the president as much as possible.

Photo courtesy of

Van De Water believes in strong borders, a 10 percent flat tax as opposed to taxing the rich at a higher percentage, additional police funding for better training and equipment and subsidies and aid for farmers who have been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New York’s 19th district has flipped multiple times over the past few election cycles, making it very difficult to predict. An encouraging sign for Delgado is the monetary advantage he has over his opponent. Delgado has raised around $4.3 million, while Van De Water has raised only around $20,000. In local elections such as these having such a large monetary advantage can be election-changing.

The district — which includes all of Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties, and parts of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery and Rensselaer counties — voted for trump 50.8 – 44 percent in 2016.

However the district ousted Republican Congressman John Faso in 2018 in a relatively tight race – 147,873 for Delgado and 132,873 for Faso.

The most recent statistics available from the state Board of Elections shows 152,992 active enrolled Democrats in the district, compared to 138,620 active enrolled Republicans with 115,351 active independent voters, which will likely play a key role in next week’s election.