LEEDS — Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., told local Republican voters that the parties need to unite and stressed political adversaries are not enemies as he attempted to charge up the ranks to go out and vote to re-elect Rep. John Faso, R-19, in five days.
Scalise came to the Twin Counties for a get-out-the-vote rally in support of Faso at The Inn at Leeds on Friday, at which he called for unity and calming of rhetoric that divides people.
“As we’re having these debates and these differences and these battles, we ought to be able to battle it out on the issues,” Scalise said. “We, in America, settle our differences at the ballot box and that is the only place you settle these kind of differences.”
Scalise talked about miraculously recovering from wounds he sustained when James Hodgkinson III, 66, opened fire at congressional members on a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, where they were practicing June 14.
Scalise was one of five people wounded on the field, and had to undergo surgery, and at the time it was unclear if he would survive.
“We all know what happened on that fateful day when a madman opened fire on the baseball players,” Faso said. “When [Scalise] returned to the House of Representatives there wasn’t a dry eye in the place, Democrat or Republican. We were all united then. We need to be united as a country and we need to stand up for the principles that make this country great.”
Faso was introduced by Republican state Attorney General candidate Keith Wofford, and he and Faso told voters that New York City Democrats were attempting to influence the election in the 19th Congressional District, pointing out reports that Democratic candidate Antonio Delgado is a transplant to the district busing in volunteers from the city to help canvass.
“They [Democrats] have spent an estimated $10 million in negative attack ads,” Faso said. “And it is all to elect someone who just parachuted into this district, bought a house in Rhinebeck, registered to vote and the very next day signed up to run for Congress, having never worked a day in his life in this district. He arrogantly says I am here, elect me for Congress.”
Greene County Republican Committee Chairman Brent Bogardus said he believes New York City is looking to push its values, separate from those of upstate, on voters who live full-time in the 19th Congressional District.
“We have had a lot of people reregistering out of New York City in Greene County,” Bogardus said. “And we have sent so far 168 absentee ballots to New York City addresses. We have the Delgado campaign bussing in people from New York City to do his campaigning. I think it is a travesty that New York City is trying to dictate what happens here.”
Local politicians say the energy behind local Republicans is electric.
“I think this is overwhelming, the amount of people here,” said Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102. “Throughout this whole process people have been saying the Republican Party and people who support candidates like John Faso are asleep. This morning we have seen they are awake and they are ready to go out and vote on Tuesday.”
Columbia County Republican Committee Chairman Greg Fingar is striving to get 100 percent participation from Republicans in this year’s election.
“We have been in the 80s before and it is becoming easier and easier with the more relaxed absentee ballot process,” Fingar said. “There are more and more reasons for people to get out and vote.”
Independent groups as well as the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee have released several advertisements attacking the lyrics in songs Delgado recorded in an early career as a rapper in California.
Monmouth University, with a margin of error of five percentage points, that shows Delgado five points ahead of Faso.