U.S. Rep. John Faso, a Republican representing New York’s 19th Congressional District, which includes the mid-Hudson Valley is seen as vulnerable this year.
And now, Faso's campaign has resorted to racist attack ads calling Delgado a "big city rapper," according to multiple reports.
The district, encompassing 11 counties including Dutchess, has been represented by Republicans for eight years. However, voter registration is nearly equally split among the GOP, Democrats and unaffiliated voters.
Faso’s Democratic challenger is Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck, a former rapper, Rhodes scholar and Harvard Law graduate working for an elite law firm -- Akin Gump.
Delgado is from a half-black, half-Hispanic working-class family in Schenectady.
The contest is now consumed by a debate over Delgado’s former career as a socially conscious rapper named "AD the Voice;" Faso and conservative groups argue that Delgado’s music lyrics make him unfit to serve in Congress.
Faso's campaign has attacked Delgado over profanity and political radicalism in some of Democrat’s decade-old rap lyrics.
In an ad from the National Republican Congressional Committee, lyrics by "Ad the Voice" are juxtaposed against clips from Delgado's recent campaign ads.
A line in which Delgado says that he is "fighting for what’s fair and just" is followed by an AD the Voice lyric, "gotcha sweatin’ this like ya having sex to a porno flick." Another line where the Democrat says "we owe it to our country to restore the American Dream" is followed by a clip of AD the Voice saying "criticize — it’s what a patriot does" and "God Bless Iraq," according to this report by Vox.
Delgado says his music simply spoke to pressing social issues, which he would also call attention to in Congress.
It was different contexts, different tactics, but same desires and same outcomes, Delgado told The New York Times: "Issues like income inequality, issues like gender equality, issues like the pollution of our environment and climate change — these are all issues that I talked about back then as an artist that I’m now talking about."
On the campaign trail, Delgado is eloquent, charismatic and reliably on message, according to this report by City & State New York, which also noted the Democrat's remarkable fundraising prowess for a first-time candidate.
Delgado reportedly raised $2.7 million through June while Faso received $830,000 from super PACs, or political action committees.
Faso of Kinderhook has embraced Donald Trump-style campaigning, according to media reports, making racially laced calls to scale back food stamps and pledging to keep MS-13 gangs out of New York state.
Other news media coverage of the heated congressional race can be found by clicking here.
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