Singer John Hall scored a surprise win for Democrats in 2006. But it’s a close election for him this year, as independents are generally siding with the Republicans and ready to oust Democrats who voted for TARP, the stimulus and health care reform. Hall voted for all three, a fact Republican challenger Nan Hayworth will try to use to her advantage.
Candidates for New York’s 19th Congressional District (two-year term)
(This district includes all or part of Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties. The cities of Peekskill and Port Jervis are in the 19th District. See a boundary map here.)
Candidate: John Hall
Political experience: Hall was elected to represent the district in 2006. He is the chairman of the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs. Before serving in the House, Hall was on the Ulster County Legislature and Saugerties Board of Education, on which he was president.
Professional experience: Hall is a musician who was in the band Orleans, releasing 18 albums with the band or as a solo artist.
Key issues: Hall considers himself a progressive Democrat. He voted to raise the minimum wage and fund stem cell research. Despite having voiced support for medical marijuana and claiming that drug prohibitions had failed, Hall has voted against an amendment that would have ended medical-marijuana patient raids, according to the Clerk of the House. He cast a vote for health care reform, despite being in a traditionally Republican district.
Hall has no issues section for his website and does not discuss his stances on most issues there, apart from veterans issues.
Endorsements: Hall has been endorsed by Alliance for Retired Americans, Humane Society and VFW Pac.
Chances of maintaining his seat: Hall is in a district considered a toss-up. He was a popular singer and has celebrity on his side, but though he had a funding advantage, he’s now trailing in remaining money. According to OpenSecrets.org, he’s slightly trailing behind Hayworth, with $504,100 to her $562,555.
Candidate: Nan Hayworth
Political experience: Hayworth has no political experience.
Professional experience: Hayworth ran a solo practice in ophthalmology before becoming a partner in Mount Kisco Medical Group. She served as vice president in medical and scientific affairs for a communications company.
Key issues: Hayworth is a lifelong Republican who believes in the principles of optimism voiced by Ronald Reagan, as seen on her website. She says a tsunami of financial red ink is looming, due to U.S. debt being held by foreign investors like China. Consequently, the stimulus must be frozen, she says, and all non-military discretionary spending must be terminated, privatized or deferred to the states.
She strongly opposes illegal immigration and amnesty programs. But she says guest-worker programs are needed as is a means of registering illegal immigrations during a grace period “after the borders have been secured.”
Endorsements: Hayworth has been endorsed by Mitt Romney, Builders Association of the Hudson Valley, National Rifle Association and Club for Growth.
Chances of unseating John Hall: Hayworth’s chances are decent. The Democrat-leaning Public Policy Polling firm for the blog Daily Kos gave Hayworth the advantage in polling, 44 percent to 42 percent. She’s a little better funded than Hall at this stage, and she’s got the demographic advantage on her side as well.
Key Differences between Nan Hayworth and John Hall
Jobs: Hall voted for the stimulus bill for TARP. Hayworth thinks the right way to stimulate the economy is to permanently extend the Bush tax cuts, eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax, reduce capital gains tax and eliminate the estate tax.
Veterans affairs: Hall is focusing on veterans issues, having introduced the Disability Claims Modernization Act, which passed the House unanimously. While it hasn’t been signed into law yet, it would help clear the claims backlog at the VA. He has had a bill signed into law that provides $590 million in benefit payments to veterans with disabilities connected to service. Hayworth backs job training, family assistance for those who have died in service and believes there should be guarantees for veterans health, education and job training.
New York‘s 19th U.S. Congressional District
Location: The New York 19th District is just north of New York City and includes the Catskills. It borders Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut.
2008 results: Hall received 58.7 percent of the vote to Republican Kieran Michael Lalor’s 41.3 percent.
Demographics: According to the U.S. Census, 77.7 percent of the district is white, 11.5 percent Hispanic, 5.7 percent black, 3.2 percent Asian and 0.2 percent American Indian and Alaska Native.
The Cook Partisan Index gives the New York 19th District a rating of R+3, awarding a slight edge to Republican voters in this district.