In­side: In the end, mi­nor-party can­di­dates weren’t spoil­ers in 19th District

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble [email protected]­manon­line.com

Steve Green­field, the Green Party can­di­date in New York’s 19th Con­gres­sional District elec­tion last month, says fi­nal re­sults from the race de­bunk the no­tion that third­party can­di­dates would spoil the vic­tory chances of Demo­crat An­to­nio Del­gado.

Del­gado, of Rhinebeck, ousted U.S. Rep. John Faso, Kin­der­hook, by a mar­gin of 7,593 votes (132,001 to 124,408) in the sprawl­ing 11-county district. Green­field, of New Paltz, and in­de­pen­dent can­di­date Diane Neal, of Hur­ley, re­ceived a com­bined 6,656 votes.

“In the ab­sence of data sup­port­ing the tra­di­tional lib­eral con­cept of spoil­ing ... this data set goes a long way to­wards val­i­dat­ing my long­stand­ing ob­ser­va­tion that, as much as there are ha­bit­ual Demo­crat and Repub­li­can vot­ers, who run around 95 per­cent con­sis­tent, there is also a small per­cent­age of ha­bit­ual vot­ers who do not choose be­tween Democrats and Repub­li­cans, and in­stead leave some of­fices blank, vote for mi­nor-party can­di­dates, or write some­one in, and are prob­a­bly also 95 per­cent con­sis­tent in their habit,” Green­field said in a writ­ten state­ment.

Re­sults from the state Board of Elec­tions show 4,745 peo­ple who cast bal­lots in the 19th District did not vote for any con­gres­sional can­di­date.

This was the fourth elec­tion in the cur­rent 19th District and the first with can­di­dates from out­side the two ma­jor par­ties.

Part of the cur­rent district — which in­cludes all of Ul­ster, Greene and Columbia coun­ties, most of Duc­thess County and part or all of seven other coun­ties — was in the state’s old 22nd Con­gres­sional District, which last was rep­re­sented by Demo­crat Mau­rice Hinchey. That district, and the even older 26th District, had oc­ca­sional mi­nor-party can­di­dates in elec­tions, but Hinchey was elected 10 straight times.

Among con­cerns voiced by Democrats in the 19th District as early as Fe­bru­ary of this year was that Neal, who ap­peared on the TV crime drama “Law and Or­der: Spe­cial Vic­tims Unit,” would take votes away from who­ever won the district’s seven-per­son Demo­cratic pri­mary, ul­ti­mately Del­gado.

Con­cern con­tin­ued late into the gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign. Polls used to de­ter­mine who would be in­cluded in a tele­vised de­bate shortly be­fore the elec­tion showed Neal with 4.7 per­cent sup­port and Green­field with 1 per­cent back­ing, while Del­gado was at 44 per­cent and Faso was at 43 per­cent.

Green­field said Del­gado’s win is a tes­ta­ment to hard work by the Demo­cratic can­di­date and his party.

“There is ... no doubt that the Democrats did an in­cred­i­ble job over the last 18 months of con­tact­ing far more of their mem­bers than ever be­fore, con­tact­ing them reg­u­larly, and im­press­ing upon them the ur­gency of flip­ping the district,” Green­field said. “I have never seen vol­un­teerism among the Democrats to the de­gree I saw this cy­cle.”

JoAnne My­ers, chair­woman of the Po­lit­i­cal Science Depart­ment at Marist Col­lege in Pough­keep­sie, agreed the lo­cal Blue Wave was the re­sult of strong cam­paign­ing by Democrats.

“I think that there are spoil­ers in a lot of races ... but in this race, I think that with Del­gado and Faso, both of their cam­paigns did a good get-out-the-vote [ef­fort], and I don’t think the third-party can­di­dates had that much trac­tion in the 19th,” My­ers said.

And in the end, “I think there was a huge ‘de­feat Faso’ push,” she said. “There was that sort of laser fo­cus.”

Faso said he doesn’t be­lieve the mi­nor-party can­di­dates had an im­pact on the race. He pre­vi­ously at­trib­uted his loss to broad op­po­si­tion to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump among 19th District vot­ers.

Nei­ther Del­gado nor Neal could be reached for com­ment.

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Steve Green­field

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Diane Neal

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