Former Cuomo press secretary considering run against Faso

An Ulster County native and former deputy press secretary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he’s seriously considering a run for congress against Rep. John Faso.

In a Medium post on Monday, Gareth Rhodes, 28, said he’s considering a run in the 19th Congressional District, with a tagline that says it’s time to “repeal and replace John Faso.” He’s also released a spiffy-looking campaign website complete with policy statements dealing with immigration, the environment, healthcare and jobs.

In an interview Monday, Rhodes, a Democrat, said he began considering a run in March after Faso, R-Kinderhook, took a vote on a Republican healthcare bill that ended up getting pulled before a full floor vote.

“That was the last straw,” Rhodes said.

Faso and Cuomo have publicly gone head to head several times over the healthcare issue and an amendment supported by Faso that could impact the state’s Medicaid funding. You can read about that fight here.

Rhodes said he told the governor’s office about his idea to run but the motivation to run was his own.

“This was my idea,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes grew up in the Town of Esopus in the Bruderhof community until he left it at 18, graduated Kingston High School in 2006 then worked in Marlboro in a local deli and a company that drilled drinking wells. He then attended CUNY City College, graduating with a four year degree in 2011.

Rhodes worked as a deputy press secretary for the governor’s office from 2011 to 2015, until he began attending Harvard Law School. Rhodes said he just completed his second year at Harvard but will be taking a leave of absence for his third year as he considers a run for congress. He said he currently lives in Kerhonkson, in the Town of Rochester.

According to a profile on a CUNY website, Rhodes also did internships with now-retired Congressman Charles Rangel, the White House and with Cuomo – both when he was state attorney general and in the executive chamber.

Rhodes joins what’s already a crowded Democratic field of candidates looking to challenge Faso. Rhodes entrance into the race would have four Democratic candidates in the race, two of which have already raised significant funds despite the election not being until November next year.

Records from the Federal Election Commission show that his campaign treasurer is Holly Giarraputo, a campaign compliance expert who’s clients include two Hudson Valley-based political action committees and the campaign of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat representing the 18th Congressional District just south of of the 19th.

You can read my past stories on who else is running in the 19th here and here. The 19th district includes all of Ulster and Sullivan counties.

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