U.S. Army Maj. Kyle Van De Water, former New York’s 19th Congressional District against U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado who rescinded his intent for a rematch fewer than two weeks ago, has died at the age of 41, officials said.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro confirmed Van De Water’s death in a statement Tuesday evening.
“My heart is broken for Kyle’s children and family,” Molinaro said. “My prayers are with them as they attempt to come to grips with this absolute tragedy. Kyle was a war hero who put his life and well-being on the line for his country. We owe him, his family, and all of our brave service men and women everything for the sacrifices they have made.”
The nature of Van de Water’s death was not clear. A call to the Poughkeepsie Police Department were not immediately returned.
Van De Water, 41, of Millbrook, was the first person and Republican to announce he will run against Delgado next November for a second time, declaring his intent to run July 12. Van de Water ran against Delgado on the Republican ticket in 2020 and had announced his entry into the 2022 race in July before withdrawing his candidacy Aug. 27.
A major in the U.S. Army, Van De Water went on active duty in 2006 and completed one tour in Afghanistan. He served as a judicial advocate in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Van De Water was discharged in 2014 and remains in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Van De Water withdrew his intent to run in a social media post less than two weeks ago, saying he was no longer able to give “110%” to the race in light of unspecified life changes.
“I have been truly humbled by and will be forever grateful for all of the support I have received these past few years. It has been an honor getting to meet so many of you as I traveled across the district,” according to a post on Van De Water’s campaign’s Facebook and Twitter pages. “For the good of the party, and the district, I have decided to withdraw my candidacy. I look forward to vigorously and enthusiastically supporting the GOP candidate in 2022.
“Unfortunately, circumstances in my life have changed and I am no longer able to give 110% toward this endeavor,” he said.
U.S. Rep Antonio Delgado, D-19, expressed sadness about Van De Water's death in a statement Tuesday night.
“My heart breaks for Kyle and his beautiful family," Delgado said. "We shared a number of conversations about family and country, and I walked away from each one knowing that he had a profound love for both.
"I know he will be immensely missed, and I’m praying for all who loved him – his friends, fellow soldiers, and family. Kyle’s death is tragically felt not only on an individual level, but also nationally, as far too many veterans across our country are going without the support and care that their service to our great land undoubtedly necessitates."
State Republican Party Chair Nick Langworthy shared his grief over the news.
"We are deeply saddened to learn of Kyle's untimely passing," he said in a statement. "He was an American hero and soldier whose selfless service in the United States Army will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time."
In his statement, Delgado provided a resources for service members in crisis. To reach the Veterans Crisis Line, call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.
"We can and must do better," Delgado said. "May God rest Kyle’s soul. And may God bless his family.”
Molinaro also offered resources for service men and women in crisis.
“To all our service men and women who struggle upon returning home, and anyone who may be struggling with this news, please know that help is always available to you,” he said. “In Dutchess County, if you are in crisis, call or text our HELPLINE at 845 485 9700, or walk-in to our 24/7 Stabilization Center at 230 North Road in Poughkeepsie.”
Kyle and his wife, Melissa, have four children: Middle school-aged triplets Thomas, Lincoln and Annabelle; and Levi.
He is a former Millbrook village trustee. A graduate of Albany Law School, Van De Water worked as a trial and litigation attorney with Corbally, Gartland & Rappleyea in Poughkeepsie.
The 19th District encompasses all of Columbia, Greene, Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties, and parts of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery and Rensselaer counties.
Check back for more details on this developing story.