Dylan Ratigan has jumped into the pool of challengers to Elise Stefanik

dylan ratiganThe Congressional elections this fall will be a big and important story as the Democrats try to take a majority in at least one of the chambers and claim a check against the Trump administration. That story will play out here in the Capital Region because the seats held by John Faso (NY-19) and Elise Stefanik (NY-21) both could potentially flip.

And Stefanik has now picked up a challenger who looks like he could be formidable: Dylan Ratigan -- the former Bloomberg journalist, MSNBC and CNBC host, and current businessman. He formally announced Wednesday in Saranac Lake that he's in the pool for the NY-21 as a Democrat.

On paper Ratigan has handful of qualities that could make him stand out. He has roots in the district -- born and raised in Saranac Lake, went to Union College, and says he's lived in Lake Placid since 2012. He has significant media skills and experience. And he's got an angry, screw 'em all, populist streak -- see his 2011 rant about the financial crisis.

Ratigan left his MSNBC show in 2012 because he said he was fed up with the state of things. He's since started a company that makes containerized hydroponic farming systems. [NYT 2016]

It appears Republicans see him as a threat. The National Republican Congressional Committee has already released a statement calling him "a liberal talking head with no voting record, and now he's running for Congress in a desperate grasp for relevance." And it called attention to fact that he just registered to vote in the NY-21 and hadn't voted in NYC since registering there in 2007.

On Wednesday, NY Now's Matt Ryan asked him about the NRCC statement:

Ratigan will have to make it through a primary to face Elise Stefanik. Something like half the Democrats in the geographically-huge district -- which includes both parts of Saratoga County and Watertown -- are running for that chance. (OK, not half, it's nine.)

Stefanik won the 2016 election for the seat with 65 percent of the vote. And the district went for Donald Trump after being won by Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012.

Whichever Democrat ends up as the challenger, they'll probably have some sort of wave behind them -- special election results since the presidential election point toward a swing in favor of Democrats. [FiveThirtyEight]

But Stefanik has also pretty clearly been trying to separate herself from Donald Trump and some of the national Republican efforts that could be unpopular here, such as the tax overhaul, which she voted against because of the cap on state and local tax deductions.

photo via Dylan Ratigan Facebook


I think he is undercutting the other candidates who have been slogging it out on the ground for months now. Yes, to us spectators it just ads to the entertainment value of seeing yet one more person jostle for dollars and our attention...may the best and or woman win. But frankly, I think it is hubris that drives Ratigan - as well as the the previous two late-comers - to believe that they have so much more to offer than the other 7 (or is it 8 now?!). The most profound difference is that these last three have just diluted an already limited pool of democratic voters and resources. I'm sure they are nice, capable, concerned people, but I wonder if they bothered to do any research on the other candidates, their positions, their fundraising efforts. In the glaring absence of some substantially new position, why on earth could they not support one of the others who have been putting themselves through the campaign grinder for months, rather than waltzing in at the last moment riding the coattails of their hard work. I'm sure the Stefanik-Ryan-Koch group is doing high fives to see the opposition tripping over themselves. Hubris.

Wrong answer - the guy is a clown.

It appears Republicans see him as a threat

"a liberal talking head with no voting record, and now he's running for Congress in a desperate grasp for relevance."

This candidate said, "I did drugs in college and I have never voted in my life." What a wonderful resume! I remember in 1992, when I was sitting behind some sandbags in Mogdadisu, and as the sun was going down I had just enough light to fill out my absentee ballot and get it mailed back to NY.

I sincerely feel bad for the voters in NY-19 and NY-21. Every election cycle, someone with a tenuous connection to the district (Ratigan, Woolf, Teachout, Eldridge, Delgado) shows up seeking glory and hoping to woo the upstate folk with lots of money and name recognition. As a Dem, it's patronizing that our party structure enables them and it shows our inability to recruit and support candidates from the grassroots.

Could be worse Guy.....they could have a very annoying voice and cadence and could be making multiple treks to P.R. On the tax payer dime looking for votes.......

Stefanik will likely eek out a victory, but only because all the power brokers she is beholden to will help undermine Ratigan's freestyle candidacy. Trouble with Stefanik is she is the female equivalent of a conservative politician in a blue suit with a red tie. She aligns her values with those that have the most strength in the House, not necessarily the ones held by the majority of her constituents. She is a DC baby that has become an adult, a common thread in the fabric of stagnancy that is our political system.

Wow!!! NY-21 will be so lucky if Ratigan makes Congress. He might spark a huge change in the type of person running for Congress and the Senate. There are an army of Ratigans that feel that the system won't let them in.He can change that and bring them out of the wood work in 2020, Just hope the corrupt, donor addicted/dominated Democratic machine will finally crack. Dylan, GO FOR IT!!!!!!!
dylan's biggest opponent will be the Democratic establishment.....unfortunately. Goldman Sach will join the Koch brothers and CNBC to help Ratigan's Republican opponent if he runs.
Imagine him on the finance committee questioning the FED chair?

Guy: you are right, but the same could be said for Elise, no real roots here prior to the election. What's troubling to me is that since the Dems lack a "farm team" (to borrow a baseball term), there is a large vacuum in local and state races which just entices people to come into the district, and are "attractive" to the Dem leaders because they are often wealthy enough to be quasi self funded. The coterie of Dems announcing should at least take a "no blood-letting" pledge to insure that the primary winner can be effective in the general election

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