GOP: Freshman Voted Against Constituents;
Democrats: He Was Following His Conscience
By JIM KEVLIN • Special To www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Impeachment is part of the issue.
The other part is: By voting for President Trump’s impeachment, is freshman Congressman Anthony Delgado, D-19, endangering his chances of reelection?
Yes, said Otsego County Republican Chairman Vince Casale: “He’s going against the majority of the will of his constituents, against how they voted in 2016.”
Regardless, Delgado had to do what he believes, said Otsego County Democratic Chairman Aimee Swan: “Regarding impeachment, we think that Congressman Delgado is doing a great job communicating his reasoning to the voters and we believe that he will continue to have the kind of broad support that got him elected.”
The U.S. House of Representatives was scheduled to vote Wednesday, Dec. 18 – this edition went to press the night before – on two articles of impeachment against Trump, and Delgado announced Sunday the 15th that he would vote for both articles.
His colleague to the north, U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi of Utica, D-22, reached the same conclusion, but it was a tougher one: In 2018, He had very narrowly beaten the incumbent, Republican Claudia Tenney, 50.9 percent to 49.1 percent, and she’s challenging him in 2020.
Delgado has a little more breathing space: He beat incumbent Republican John Faso by a lesser margin, 50.4 percent, but Faso’s margin was winnowed to 46.2 percent by Green and Independent candidates also running in the 19th.
So far, Delgado is facing a Republican challenge from Maj. Gen. (ret.) Tony German of Oneonta, former commander of the state National Guard. And perhaps a more formidable one: Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who ran for governor last year. Casale said to expect news about formidable entries “after the first of the year.”
Hartwick College Poly-Sci Professor Laurel Elder agreed with Casale and Swan’s formulations, summing it up as follows: “We know it’s a very divided district; there’s no way he can please everybody.”
Harkening back to 2018, however, she recalled that several Democrats in the Congressional primary were significantly to the left of Delgado. If he hadn’t stepped forward on impeachment, he might have provoked a primary next June.
“There’s energy in the wings of the party,” she observed.
Regardless, Delgado (and Brindisi) fall into a category that is generating a lot of interest: Democratic congressmen elected in 2018 to districts – some, like the 19th, are being called “purple districts” – that supported Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Trump won the 19th by 6.8 percentile points, to Delgado’s 4.2. (In Otsego County, Trump’s margin was greater, 51.85 percent to Clinton’s 40.72 percent, or 11.13 percentile points. In 2018, Delgado won 48.97 percent of Otsego’s votes; Faso, 48.47 percent, or 0.5 percentile points.)
Since, statistically, members of Congress are most vulnerable when running for reelection after one term, a counter-sweep next November could put Congress back in Republicans hands just in time for the 2021 reapportionment that will follow the 2020 Census.
An indication of that significance: Both national newspapers, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, had reporters shadowing Delgado the week leading up to his announced he’ll support impeachment.
The Journal’s Natalie Andrews reported Delgado being greeted by “vote no on impeachment cries” and a single “yes on impeachment” cry on arriving at a Town Hall meeting in Highland, Ulster County. She spoke to voters similarly split on the congressman, although they all seemed to like him.
Echoing what Aimee Swan said, The Times’ Emily Cochrane said voting for impeachment “had made it all the more important for Mr. Delgado and Democrats like him to find ways to show voters they are getting things done in Congress, which is why he is crisscrossing his district through flurries, working on local issues and connecting with constituents.”
And why Speaker Nancy Pelosi scheduled Wednesday’s impeachment vote between votes on muscular legislation, one to fund the government, the other on the new NAFTA.
Delgado’s job could depend on it; and Pelosi’s.