It was almost like speed-dating for Congress Friday as four of the seven candidates looking to take on John Faso worked the tables, told stories and jokes, and pitched to a crowd of about 100 at Schoharie County Democrats’ Spring Fling.
The tone was more laid-back and less confrontational than some of the other forums Democratic candidates have appeared at together.
And between the mingling and five-minute introductions by Brian Flynn, Erin Collier, Gareth Rhodes, and Antonio Delgado, Democratic Chairman Cliff Hay urged them to keep it that way after the primary vote June 26.
“It’s very important that we stick together,” he said. “When Hillary lost to Obama, she stood behind him. But when she ran, that wasn’t the case. Any of these seven candidates are good candidates. And it’s 100 percent better than what we have now.”
Few of those at Friday’s Fling came in already having decided on a candidate; that’s why they were there.
“Anybody’s better than Faso,” said John Jarvis of Cobleskill.
“I want to see what their differences are—that they’re not interchangeable…there are so many,” said his wife, Pam Kostbar-Jarvis.
Missing were candidates Jeff Beals, Patrick Ryan, and David Clegg—though Mr. Beals send his field director.
And though sometimes it was hard to tell who was who without a card, staffers for many of the candidates were on hand with buttons, postcards, and sign-up sheets.
Though he’d met all seven candidates when the County’s Democratic Committee interviewed them, Fulton Supervisor Phil Skowfoe was undecided before the Fling.
His top concern?
Protecting his Second Amendment rights.
“Whoever I go with, they have to support that,” he said.
And after he’d heard them all?
“Well, I’ve narrowed it down. I really liked Delgado and Collier had good things to say about agriculture.”
Gail Shafer of Blenheim, a former supervisor, Assemblyman and Secretary of State, came overwhelmed and undecided and left beaming with her pick: Ms. Collier.
“I was very impressed,” Ms. Shafer said. “She had a good farm background and we need more women in Congress. I think she’ll resonate with the District.”
Sandy Manko, Sharon supervisor, was one of the few to come decided—she’s committed to Mr. Flynn—and nothing she heard changed her mind.
“I’ve met him a few times and like what he has to say,” she said. “He seems like he’ll do what he says he’ll do.”
Betsy Bernocco, former Richmondville supervisor, and her husband, Joe, left carrying signs for two different candidates, her’s Brian Flynn, his, Antonio Delgado.
Does that mean they’ve picked?
Mr. Bernocco said he’s going with Delgado.
Ms. Bernocco said she’s still a little on the fence.
Maybe, said Kurt Pelton of Sloansville, that’s okay.
As the candidates stumped in the background, Mr. Pelton said he’s frustrated by waking up every morning to some new disaster out of Washington, DC.
“I’m looking for someone progressive, but they’re all good,” he said. “My issues are agriculture and Medicare for all. We’ve got to address inequity in this country. It keeps me up nights.”