Republican ad uses old rap video to discredit House hopeful
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A Republican attack ad against a former rapper turned Democratic candidate in one of the nation’s most hotly contested congressional races uses clips from a 2007 rap video to portray him as unfit to represent the sprawling district just north of metropolitan New York.
The ad released by the National Republican Campaign Committee last week targets Antonio Delgado, a lawyer challenging first-term Rep. John Faso in New York’s 19th District, where 90 percent of the population is white. It features explicit lyrics from a 2007 rap album made under the stage name AD the Voice by Delgado, who is black.
Songs in the album criticize racism in the United States. Some of the lyrics refer to drug use and sex, criticize “dead presidents” as “white supremacists,” and say New Orleans residents displaced by Katrina were packed into the Super Dome “like a slave ship.”
In a statement Monday, Faso said his campaign had no control over the ad from the Republican group. But it fits his campaign’s narrative that Delgado, a Harvard-educated lawyer who lives in Rhinebeck, is an outsider disconnected from his district and supported by New York City liberal activists.
“Mr. Delgado’s words have been an issue for some time and it is his responsibility as a candidate to answer for the controversial views he expressed and whether he continues to hold these views today,” Faso said in a statement Monday.
Faso criticized Delgado’s rap lyrics as offensive over the summer, prompting a New York Times editorial saying Faso was “race-baiting his opponent.” Faso responded with an op-ed piece saying Delgado is obligated to explain what he meant by songs “which denigrated our nation and the free enterprise system, and often glorified pornography and drug use.”
In July, Delgado told the New York Times that he believed the criticism of his rap lyrics was an attempt to “otherize” him as he sought to become the first nonwhite person to represent the district, which stretches from the edge of the New York metropolitan area north through the Catskills and Hudson Valley.
“It’s disappointing that John Faso and his supporters are still focused on distractions by spreading fear, hatred, and division,” Delgado said in a statement Monday. “We continue to call on Faso to condemn these divisive and deceptive ads.”