Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney had some advice for fellow Democrats about reconnecting with voters in the wake of last year's elections during his interview with the Times Herald-Record editorial board on Tuesday. Maloney pointed out that he won re-election ...
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney had some advice for fellow Democrats about reconnecting with voters in the wake of last year’s elections during his interview with the Times Herald-Record editorial board on Tuesday.
Maloney pointed out that he won re-election in November in a district that Donald Trump won, and argued that New York’s 18th District shares some of the same characteristics as places in the U.S. in which Democrat candidates are struggling and in which the voice of an anti-establishment outsider resonated.
“So I live this challenge every day,” Maloney said, “and all I can tell you is I think the most important thing the party can do is show up in a way that’s authentic, and speak from the heart, and let people know that you’re working for their best interest.”
Maloney argued that party labels are becoming less important in American politics than a candidate’s authenticity, and that voters care as much about “what’s in your heart” as individual issues.
“That’s where the party needs to move,” Maloney said. “The party needs to move into a relationship with working- and middle-class people who can look at our party and say, 'Those guys are going to do something good for me,' and it’s as simple as that.”
He foresees big changes on the horizon, none of it directed by party bosses in Washington. Instead, he said, it’s coming from “flat, organic” movements, the same clashing forces that propelled Donald Trump into the White House and then spawned the grassroots Indivisible movement to fight his agenda after he took office.
“I think you’re going to see millions of individual people come out like you did in the women’s march and a lot of events since, and say, 'We’re deeply worried about where our country is going, and we want something better than what the president is giving us,'” Maloney said. “And out of that you’ll see new leaders and new organizations and new blood, and I’m very excited about it.”
He predicts an “interesting” 2018 election cycle, one with a lot of energy and turnover. He had gotten a firsthand look at some of that energy the night before, when he spoke to a large, fired-up audience in Kingston about the Republican health-care bill that their own congressman — Rep. John Faso — helped the House pass in a 217-213 squeaker.
“There may be some twisted metal and some broken glass, so everybody better buckle up,” Maloney said. “Because I think we’re in some interesting times, and the stakes are really high on things like health care where the damage to our communities can be severe unless we get organized and active and show up.”
Four Orange legislators will forgo re-election bids
Four Orange County legislators — the current Republican and Democratic leaders, and the last two Democratic leaders — plan to bow out this year when elections are held for all 21 county Legislature seats.
Chris Eachus, a New Windsor Democrat who’s been on the Legislature for 12 years and led the Democratic caucus in 2014 and 2015, confirmed last week he won’t seek re-election in November. Eachus, who ran unsuccessfully to unseat Republican state Sen. Bill Larkin in 2012 and 2016, said he took seriously the arguments he made in support of term limits in his campaign last year. So he decided to term limit himself to invite new faces and new ideas.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that politicians, as a body, are not going to impose term limits on themselves,” Eachus said.
Melissa Bonacic, a Greenville Republican who has served four four-year terms on the Legislature and has led the Republican majority since 2010, announced weeks ago that she won’t seek another term. “It truly has been an honor and a privilege to represent the people of the 2nd Legislative District,” she said by email last week. “As to the future, I can only say that I will keep my options open.”
Jeff Berkman, a Middletown Democrat who’s been on the Legislature since 1998 and is its second longest-serving member, announced on his weekly talk show on WTBQ radio station on Wednesday that he won’t run for re-election this year. Berkman, who represents most of Middletown, led the Democratic minority for five years, passing the torch to Eachus in 2014.
Matt Turnbull, a Hamptonburgh Democrat who’s been a county lawmaker since 2012 and is in his second year as party leader, also has said he won’t run for re-election.
Former Rep. Gibson coming out with book
Former 19th Congressional District Rep. Chris Gibson will release a book in October.
The book is titled “Rally Point: Five Tasks to Unite the Country and Revitalize the American Dream,” according to the website of the publisher, Twelve. A description of the book from Hachette Book Group says Gibson “looks past the 2016 election, past the finger pointing and conventional political thinking, to focus on clear, primary principles that conservatives must debate and defend to protect the future of America.” The scheduled release date is Oct. 3.
Gibson, a Kinderhook Republican and former colonel in the U.S. Army, decided not to run for a fourth term in Congress last year. He had said he was considering a run for governor but later decided against it. He instead took a job as a visiting professor at Williams College.
Gibson, 52, released his first book, “Reforming the National Security: Decision Making Process at the Civil-Military Nexus,” from Ashgate Publishing Limited in 2008. He waived royalties from the book, according to a financial disclosure statement.
Former Cuomo aide may run against Faso
An Ulster County native and former deputy press secretary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he’s seriously considering a run for Congress against Republican Rep. John Faso.
In a Medium post on Monday, Gareth Rhodes, 28, said he’s considering a run in the 19th Congressional District, with a tagline that says it’s time to “repeal and replace John Faso.” He’s also released a spiffy-looking campaign website complete with policy statements dealing with immigration, the environment, health care and jobs.
In an interview Monday, the Democrat said he began considering a run in March after Faso, R-Kinderhook, supported a Republican health-care bill that ended up getting pulled before a full floor vote. Rhodes grew up in the Town of Esopus in the Bruderhof religious community, which he left at age 18. He worked as a deputy press secretary for the governor’s office from 2011 to 2015. Rhodes said he just completed his second year at Harvard Law School, and will take a leave of absence for his third year as he considers a run for Congress. He said he currently lives in Kerhonkson, in the Town of Rochester.
Rhodes would join three other Democratic candidates looking to challenge Faso. Two already have raised significant funds.
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