Antonio Delgado, a Harvard Law School graduate, and Rhodes Scholar, is currently making a run for a seat in Congress for the Democratic Party. Delgado’s white Republican opponent has discovered Delgado’s former Hip-Hop past and is attempting to use his lyrics against him.
The New York Times profiled Delgado, 41, as he preps for a run for New York’s 19th Congressional District seat. His opponent, Rep. John Faso, has seized upon Delgado’s now-defunct rap career. As AD The Voice, Delgado’s lyrics were largely critical of America’s injustices and railing against white supremacy with some use of the n-word. Faso told the Times that Delgado’s offensive lyrics should be examined and if he’s fit to lead in Congress based on his former views.
Adding to the complexity of the issue is that Faso’s side and others from the GOP believe that Delgado’s raps do not reflect the values of those who live in rural Hudson Valley and the Catskills where the 19th District covers. Delgado has not shied away from his time as Ad The Voice, and has hit back at Faso’s attacks with a measured one of his own.
From the Times:
“It was different contexts, different tactics, but same desires and same outcomes,” Mr. Delgado said of his old music. “Issues like income inequality, issues like gender equality, issues like the pollution of our environment and climate change — these are all issues that I talked about back then as an artist that I’m now talking about” as a candidate.
Referring to Mr. Faso, Mr. Delgado said, “In his dated mind-set, he thinks it’s accurate to suggest that if you’re black or if you’re of a certain race, you can’t be of this community,” Mr. Delgado said. “But I believe the community of people who are grounded in love and unity far outweigh the community of people he’s speaking to.”
Thus far, analysts suggest this could be a competitive race for Delgado and the current smear campaign may not bode well for him. However, Delgado, a former lawyer for one of the top lobbying firms, is no stranger to tension. And in a recent event in his hometown of Rhinebeck, N.Y., residents there were critical of Faso trying to drag Delgado’s Hip-Hop past into the equation instead of the larger mission of representing the district.