NY 19th Congressional 2018 Primary JULY 22 UPDATE: A Re-birth of Democratic Values, or the Continuing Death of Democracy?
Gareth Rhodes, the baby of the group at 29, actually trumpets the fact that he worked for Governor Cuomo – the ultimate betrayer of the Democratic Party! Rhodes is proud of his work for Cuomo, highlighting the agenda he helped promote. The National Republican Campaign Committee wasn’t so proud – Spectrum News reported on January 17, 2018 that the NRCC called upon Rhodes to address the upcoming corruption trial of his former colleague and top Cuomo aide Joe Percoco. In that same article, NRCC spokesperson Chis Martin is quoted as asking, “What was Gareth Rhodes’ involvement in the corruption of Albany? Why does he refuse to answer basic questions about the charges? Spectrum New further quotes Martin, “Voters deserve answers. Gareth Rhodes was a top aide to Andrew Cuomo’s shady administration and worked with several colleagues that are now under federal indictment for corruption and bribery. If Rhodes has nothing to hide, why is he so desperate to deflect attention away from himself?” 6/21/18 UPDATE: Percoco, the man Cuomo has called “my father’s 3rd son,” has been CONVICTED on 3 charges.
Rhodes also brags that he is the top “grassroots” fundraiser in the race. However, he fails to mention that he is getting a lot of help. A June 12, 2017 article in The New York Daily News reports: “As he readies for his first run for office, Gov. Cuomo’s one-time deputy press secretary and advance man is getting help from friends in high places. Several former staffers to ex-President Barack Obama and ex-Cuomo aides are banding together to help Gareth Rhodes raise money. Paulette Aniskoff, who ran Obama’s Office of Public Engagement and is a founding partner to a firm doing post-White House political work for him, and Aditi Hardikar, Obama’s chief LGBT fundraiser who also worked for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, are part of a host committee for a Wednesday Rhodes fundraiser in New York City. Others on the host committee include Cuomo’s former chief counsel, Mylan Denerstein, his ex-chief of staff Josh Vlasto, and consultant Peter Kauffmann.Robert Diamond, the managing director of Tishman Speyer who worked for both Obama and Cuomo, is also on the committee. Cuomo staffers, both past and present, are clearly behind their former colleague. Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, her husband and former Cuomo press secretary Matt Wing, and Steve Cohen, a one-time top aide to the governor, recently hosted a fund-raiser for Rhodes in Brooklyn Heights. So despite Rhodes’ claim of raising campaign cash mostly from $19 donations (as in “NY19”), Rhodes clearly has powerful friends in high places raising big money for him. Rhodes also came within one semester of completing a law degree at Harvard Law School (anotherlawyer?), then quit school to run for Congress, but not before he made $38,000 at the law firm of Arnold & Porter as a summer associate, according to the New York Times. The Times continues: “It remains to be seen whether his association with the Cuomo administration will help or hurt his candidacy. Four years ago, Mr. Cuomo took a beating in the [NY19] district, drawing fewer votes than Zephyr Teachout in the Democratic primary and fewer than Rob Astorino in the general election.” Young Mr. Rhodes seems to me to be a Mainstream Democrat-in-Training, who has found a sneaky way to get big money, and not the Progressive he strains to paint himself as on his website and in the debates. Let’s not forget that during Barack Obama’s presidency the Democratic Party lost the House, the Senate, a majority of state legislatures, a majority of state governors, and now the presidency. By contrast, Bernie Sanders easily defeated Hillary Clinton in every county in NY District 19 in the 2016 New York Presidential Primary. In addition, Rhodes’ “Winnebago Trip” to all 163 towns is not unique – several mid-western congressmen have done this gimmick before.