Rap Lyrics, Brett Kavanaugh Take the Stage in Pivotal House Race

SCHODACK, N.Y. (AP) — Hip-hop, health care and Brett Kavanaugh have emerged as issues in a tight congressional race in New York’s Hudson Valley that pits a freshman Republican congressman against a rapper-turned-corporate lawyer seeking his first political office.

Democrat Antonio Delgado is running on universal access to Medicare, creating good jobs and eliminating tax loopholes for the rich. But his supporters say Republicans have instead obsessed over his brief rap career more than a decade ago, portraying Delgado, who is black, as a thuggish “big-city liberal” who denigrated women, police and American values.

Rep. John Faso, meanwhile, says his conservative voters have been both angered and energized by the contentious fight over President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed after facing an allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman while he was in high school.

At stake is one of the nation’s most closely watched midterm races. The sprawling 19th Congressional District, stretching from New York City’s northernmost suburbs to rural counties near Albany, is a key battleground as Democrats seek to flip the House. With voters evenly split among Democrats, Republicans and independents, the district, which backed President Barack Obama for two terms and favored Trump in 2016, is a toss-up in 2018.

A Siena College poll in August found Faso with a narrow 5-point lead over Delgado among likely voters, 45-50 percent. A September Monmouth University poll found Delgado leading 45-43 percent.

“This is a very politically divided district,” Faso said at a recent pancake breakfast in rural Speigletown. “Conservative voters are galvanized by the way the Democrats handled the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination. The character assassinations and mob tactics deeply alienated people.”

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