Faso declines two debates that exclude Green candidate

Democratic challenger Antonio Delgado criticized Republican Rep. John Faso on Friday for declining two TV debates that would either exclude Green Party candidate Steve Greenfield or let him participate only if at least 5 percent of voters support him in a poll.

Faso, a freshman who’s seeking a second term representing New York’s 19th Congressional District, rejected requests from Albany-area WMHT for a one-on-one debate with Delgado, and from cable station Spectrum News for a debate with any candidates polling above 5 percent. Greenfield wasn’t included last month when Siena College polled voters about the 19th District race.

“Faso will only debate on his own terms, just like he will only hold town halls on his own terms,” Delgado, an attorney who lives in Rhinebeck, said in a statement. “He forgets that the job is not about him, it’s about the people.”

Faso’s campaign spokesman, Joe Gierut, responded that “John feels strongly that candidates who are on the ballot have the opportunity to participate.” He pointed out that the Green Party has enough voters to have earned a spot on the New York ballot, and has “a sizable following” in the 19th District.

Faso and Delgado have agreed to take part in two events that will include Greenfield. One is a candidates’ forum that the Ulster Chamber of Commerce plans to host on Sept. 20. The other is a WAMC radio debate with the three candidates on Oct. 22.

Faso led Delgado by 45 percent to 40 percent in the Siena poll last month, a lead that roughly matched the poll’s margin of error.

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