Our Opinion: NY19 rejected GOP smear campaign

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On Election Day, one decision the voters of Berkshire County were spared (or denied, depending on one's point of view) was determining who would represent them in Congress. Democratic Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield sailed unopposed into his 16th term in that body. Their neighbors to the west in the Empire State, however, live in one of the most oft-cited toss-up districts in the nation. As residents of New York Congressional District 19, they were subjected to a spirited campaign characterized by an infusion of national campaign money on both sides, which translated into ceaseless television ads.

While Albany media outlets surely benefited financially from all the outside interest in the race's outcome, citizens having to choose between incumbent Republican Rep. John Faso and his Democratic challenger, Antonio Delgado, fared less well. In fact, courtesy of the Faso campaign and monied supporters, they received a generous dollop of the kind of cynical poison that has been sweeping the nation of late.

Mr. Faso, an avowed Trump supporter (a claim well supported by his voting record in Congress), may have assumed that the divisive rhetoric that has served the president so well would resonate with the largely rural population of his district. Since Mr. Delgado not only bears a Hispanic name but is also an African-American, Mr. Faso and Republican PACs went low — subjecting his opponent to one of the most viciously racist ad campaigns in the country.

Seizing on Mr. Delgado's short-lived musical career of several decades ago, the GOP ads referred to him as a "big-city rapper," and "not one of us" — coded phrases intended to negatively define the Schenectady native and former Rhodes Scholar to his constituents.

That they did not rise to this bait, and in fact roundly repudiated it, is to District 19 voters' credit. Rather, they chose a man who, by every indication, will represent them well and has the potential to rise even higher in the political firmament. They deserve a hearty pat on the back from their Berkshires brethren.

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