At one point in his life for a brief period, Antonio Delgado was a hip-hop artist. He is also a Rhodes Scholar. Mind you, only 32 people a year are chosen from the U.S. to participate in the Rhodes Scholar program at Oxford University in the U.K. It’s a major achievement and distinction. Raised in Schenectady, rural New York, Delgado also holds a Harvard Law School degree.
A Democrat, Delgado is running for Congress in a swing district where more than 84 percent of the population is white — New York’s 19th Congressional District. During the campaign leading to the November elections, his GOP opponent has decided to focus on Delgado’s flash-in-the-pan career as a rapper. He insists on constantly calling Delgado a “big-city- rapper.”
“The National Republican Congressional Committee last week released its second political attack ad against Delgado, a Democrat, waiting all of six seconds before it labeled him a ‘big-city rapper,’” the New York Times reported.
The first ad shows images of Delgado the candidate and Delgado, formerly known as A.D. the Voice, using Delgado’s lyrics from a decade ago to “suggest that he is misogynistic, racist, and unAmerican.”
For example, Delgado says that he is “fighting for what’s fair and just,” followed by an old lyric, “gotcha sweatin’ this like ya having sex to a porno flick.” In another campaign line, Delgado (the candidate) says, “we owe it to our country to restore the American Dream.” The Republican candidate tries to detract from that message with a clip of AD the Voice saying “criticize — it’s what a patriot does” and “God Bless Iraq.”
“The video ads have injected elements of race and identity in a contest already fraught with national implications: The race between Delgado and the Republican incumbent, Rep. John Faso, is thought to be a toss up, so both parties are heavily invested in the district,” the NYT reported.
Not everyone is happy with the ads. Twenty clergy members have denounced them, and a radio station in Woodstock refused to air a radio spot critical of Delgado, the NYT reported.
This turn of events has disheartened Delgado. “All of this has made Mr. Delgado — a lawyer, Rhodes scholar and Harvard Law graduate — weary and reflective of the divisions in the nation,” the NYT reported:
“I’m not going to lie — I’m tired,” Delgado told four dozen supporters. “Not from the campaign. I love the campaign and the energy we are experiencing across this district. But we are at each other’s throats right now in this country. There is a degree of partisanship and chaos, ugliness and nastiness, the likes of which I don’t think I’ve seen.”
Instead of helping the Faso campaign, the ads seem to have helped Delgado. “Since the first radio ad started airing in July, Delgado campaign officials said they have seen a shot of energy. In August, some 500 volunteers knocked on 13,000 doors and made 32,000 phone calls,” the NYT reported.
Delgado has called on Faso to denounce the negative ads, but Faso has declined. He is not backing down on his criticism of Delgado’s rap lyrics. “It’s important for him to explain his words,” Faso said.
The community keeps telling Faso his ads are racist and true to form, he simply doesn’t care.
If Antonio Delgado isn’t on your radar for Nov, he should be! https://t.co/nLyQut21Yy
— Christina Henderson (@HendWex) October 2, 2018