A liberal veterans group has endorsed Democrat Patrick Ryan for Congress in the crowded race for the 19th Congressional District, nearly 18 months before the 2018 general election.

VoteVets PAC, a Washington D.C.-based political action committee, was founded in 2006 and says its mission is to elect veterans to public office, particularly Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. It says it’s “non-partisan” but “candidates it backs must support VoteVets.org’s core mission and beliefs.”

So far eight Democrats have announced campaigns to take on freshman Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, despite the general election not being until November 2018. The districts includes all or part of 11 counties, including all of Ulster and Sullivan.

According to federal election records, VoteVets spent $11.4 million in the 2016 election cycle. According to OpenSecrets.org, about $9.9 million of that was spent on media buys, generally supporting Democratic or opposing Republican candidates. One of its biggest donors last cycle was Majority Forward, a nonprofit that a Politico story characterized as “a nonprofit affiliated with Democrats’ biggest Senate super PAC.”

In a release, Rick Hegdahl, veterans outreach coordinator for VoteVets, said Ryan “brings the kind of experience, and dedication to his community, that we so desperately need in Washington.”

“It’s important that people in the district know that Pat has never forgotten where he came from. After serving in Iraq, he went right to work, trying to better protect the men and women still in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, he’s back in his Hudson Valley home, serving his community. That says a lot about the kind of extraordinary servant that Pat is, and that he will be, as a Congressman,” Hegdahl said.

Ryan, 35, of Brooklyn, announced his run for Congress last week. He’s a graduate of United States Military Academy at West Point and a Kingston native. He currently lives in Brooklyn but said he’s currently searching with his wife for a home in Gardiner, Accord and Kingston.

He graduated from Kingston High School, went to West Point and served two combat tours in Iraq, rising to the rank of captain. He started two start-up technology businesses and currently works for Dataminr, a New York City-start up company that analyzes from social media.

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Categories: Press Coverage