In effect, the Republican Party this season failed to field a candidate against freshman Congressman Antonio Delgado in the 19th District, which includes Otsego County.
While a contest can sharpen an incumbent’s resolve, Delgado – except for voting “aye” on impeachment – has pretty much done everything right in his first term.
First, he’s been present, holding more than two-dozen town hall meetings district-wide, including at Oneonta, Cooperstown and Cherry Valley, and showing up with his family at such places as the Cooperstown Bat Company.
He was at a poverty summit at Foothills last year, and followed up with special funding to Opportunities for Otsego. That’s one of many examples of his attentiveness.
And he’s educated himself on farming, challenges facing small business, broad-
band and other regional challenges. Most astonishingly, he has sponsored legislation of sufficient breadth to pass the Republican Senate and get signed into law by the Republican in chief.
He’s certainly earned reelection, as the Republican Party and major GOP donors seem to have concluded, too.
As of Oct. 14, Delgado had raised $5,689,567 toward his reelection. His challenger, a Poughkeepsie lawyer, Kyle Van De Water, had raised $130,381; that’s 2.3 percent of his opponent’s take.
Van de Water was further damaged, as if that were necessary, by the Ola Hawatmeh sideshow. The St. Louis fashion designer, by way of Poughkeepsie, lost the Republican primary, but continues on as an independent. Her signs are everywhere around here, compared to few to none for Van de Water.
What’s that all about?
Looking ahead, a Delgado victory may work for us in another way.
If Joe Biden wins the presidency, our junior U.S. senator, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, has been mentioned for a Cabinet post. And Delgado’s been mentioned, if that happens, as the leading prospect to fill the Gillibrand vacancy.
Having one of two U.S. senators with such an understanding of Otsego County and the rest of the 19th as Delgado, and all the local contacts he’s developed in the past two years, can’t hurt us.
This may be his local swansong, anyhow. With New York State looking to lose two Congressional districts in next year’s redistricting, one scenario has Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney retiring, and his 18th District in the Hudson Valley being folded into Delgado’s 19th.
If that happens, it’s likely Otsego County could be folded back into a Central New York District – Democrat Anthony Brindisi’s (or Republican Claudia Tenney’s) Utica-based 22nd.
Thinking back on Sherry Boehlert’s and Mike Arcuri’s congressional tenures, that sounds pretty good. After all, the Hudson Valley is a long