Antonio Delgado defeated six other Democrats Tuesday night to clinch the Democratic nomination for New York’s 19th congressional district, pitting him against Republican Rep. John Faso in what’s expected to be a battleground race for control of the House.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press declared Delgado—an attorney and Rhodes scholar—the winner of the crowded primary race just before midnight.
Delgado was the fundraising leader in the jam-packed primary, raising $2.28 million this election cycle. Gareth Rhodes, a former spokesman to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who came in second behind Delgado, raised nearly $800,000. Patrick Ryan, an Iraq war veteran, who came in third in Tuesday’s primary, raised $1.62 million, according to campaign records with the Federal Election Commission.
Among Delgado’s top contributors are attorneys or employees of Akin Gump Strauss & Feld LLP, a Washington-based law firm and lobbying shop where Delgado was previously employed. Employees at Akin Gump donated a more than $151,000 to Delgado’s campaign this election cycle, according to Sludge’s analysis of FEC data.
Delgado, who spent time in Los Angeles as a music company executive and performer, also got a boost from the entertainment industry.
Authors, writers, actors, filmmakers, and television and film executives donated nearly $150,000 to Delgado’s campaign. Actor Paul Rudd and his wife donated a combined $10,800. “The Jinx” filmmaker Andrew Jarecki, along with his wife and son, donated a combined $16,200. Actors Michael Douglas and Gabrielle Union donated $2,500 and $5,000, respectively.
A sizable portion of Delgado’s donations, nearly 38 percent, were $2,000 or more, according to FEC data. At a time where a growing number of Democratic candidates are embracing small donors and making them cornerstones of their campaigns, donations under $200 comprised just 11 percent of Delgado’s $2.28 million campaign haul so far.
Democrats have identified New York’s 19th district as a vulnerability for Republicans as the party seeks to gain control of the House in the fall. Former President Barack Obama won the 19th congressional district—which comprises all of Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties, and parts of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery, and Rensselaer counties in upstate New York—in 2008 and 2012, but the district went for President Donald Trump in 2016.
New York’s 19th congressional district was also considered a battleground in 2016 when Republican incumbent Chris Gibson chose not to seek reelection, leaving the seat open. Faso defeated Fordham Law School Professor Zephyr Teachout, a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current candidate for New York attorney general, by roughly 25,000 votes.
So far this election cycle, nearly $770,000 was spent by outside groups attempting to influence voters in the district, according to Sludge’s analysis of campaign finance reports. With Honor Fund Inc., a super PAC aimed at electing veterans, spent nearly $270,000, with the majority of the funds supporting Ryan, FEC data shows. CHC Bold PAC, the fundraising arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, spent roughly $178,000 in their efforts to support Delgado.
Delgado will face Faso, who has raised $2 million so far this cycle, in November’s general election.