Notes on congress lead

Let’s focus on the prize

As the first anniversary of that Superbowl congressional cattle call in Woodstock has come and gone – six candidates dealing with as many subjects over a two-hour span – it appears maybe only a fraction will answer the bell this year.

For sure, circumstances are far different and isn’t it amazing how quickly things can change?

In 2018, eventually seven virtual unknown and untested Democratic candidates were vying for their party’s nomination to run against a presumably vulnerable Republican incumbent. Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck emerged from that herd and is now a solid favorite to hold on to the seat he wrested from John (“Faso Friday”) Faso.

So far, this year’s fray features only Delgado, Dutchess Republican Ola Hawatmeh and Green Party Steve Greenfield of New Paltz.

Two years ago, Greenfield, running on the Green ticket, got 1.5 percent of total votes cast (4,313, to be exact). Delgado pulled 147,873. And Greenfield is back for more.

Hawatmeh of Poughkeepsie, Delgado’s only Republican challenger, so far, is described as a fashion designer/activist in published reports. Other reports describe a huge fund-raising gap between the two. Hawatmeh, according to federal filings, has about $5,000 on hand, Delgado, over $2 million.

If nothing changes, we will encounter the classic matchup of major party candidates against a minor challenger.

Which (finally) brings me to the cusp of this piece.

One of the favorite topics in the various newsrooms I’ve been privy to is whether a minor (read hopeless) candidate like Greenfield, who might pull perhaps 2% of the vote (in a good year) should be given equal coverage with the major party candidates, one of whom will certainly be elected.

To the minors, it’s a no-brainer: All legitimate candidates in a race should be given equal coverage. Taken to an extreme, that theory might produce nine candidates at a debate, with two-thirds wallowing in single-digits.

To be sure, minors can be colorful, controversial and quotable, qualities that, to be polite, draw media like flies to honey. They have nothing to lose. Majors, to the contrary, tend to stick to tried and true strategies, leaving the nasty to well-paid surrogates which minors can’t afford.

With clowns to the left and jokers to the right, voters are left in the middle. Regardless of the medium, time and space are limited, more so these days than ever. I can’t speak for the public but many criticize media coverage of minor side shows when what they mostly want to know where major party candidates stand and issues that are important to them and how they might act if elected.

I’m not saying Steve Greenfield should get a third of the coverage – forsooth! – or as little as history suggests, only that in the interest of voters, media should put its resources where it will have the most impact.

Here and there – Good to see that Mike Kavanagh, losing Republican candidate for district attorney, has hooked up with Mainetti and Mainetti, one of Kingston’s leading defense law firms. The irony is, Kavanagh, a career prosecutor, might make more money on the defense side than DA Dave Clegg, the Democrat who beat him by 78 votes. During the campaign, these guys looked like two dogs chasing each other in July; they were both walking. In court, one-on-one, they might be quite a show.

Woodstock historian and town councilman Richard Heppner will do a book signing at Rough Draft bookstore at the corner of Crown and John Streets in uptown Kingston on Monday, February 10, 6:00 to 8:00 PM on his latest tome, Woodstock’s Infamous Murder Trial etc.

And finally, condolences to the family and many friends of Gardiner town Democratic chairman Mike Kruglinski, who died last week. At one point a year ago, Kruglinski could claim credit for three Gardineers holding high county office: executive Pat Ryan, county legislature chairperson Tracey Bartels and sheriff Juan Figueroa. OK, the sheriff is from adjacent Plattekill, but close enough for bragging rights.

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