Former MSNBC news anchor Dylan Ratigan, who stepped away from TV in 2012 and started a hydroponic farming company, is running for Congress in upstate New York.
Ratigan will hold a rally Wednesday to announce his candidacy for the Democratic nomination in New York’s 21st District, currently represented by Republican Elise Stefanik.
“Let’s face it: the political class is screwing ordinary people,” Ratigan wrote on his campaign website, which features a photo of him smiling in the snow. “They’ve built a corrupt system that rewards themselves. They do just enough to get reelected and reward their donors. And instead of finding common ground, they hide behind partisanship and stalemate.”
Ratigan, who worked at Bloomberg News and hosted a show on CNBC before joining MSNBC, joins a crowded Democratic primary. There are already nine candidates in the race, but none with Ratigan’s name recognition or connections. The 45-year-old old has reportedly signed on longtime Democratic strategist Joe Trippi to advise his campaign.
If Ratigan wins the Democratic primary, he’ll face an uphill battle against Stefanik, who ended 2018 with $1.12 million in the bank. Donald Trump won the rural 21st District 54–40 in 2106, a swing from Barack Obama’s 52–46 win in 2012. But Stefanik won’t be so easily tied to Trump. She was one of 12 Republicans to vote against the GOP tax bill and she came under attack from one conservative group for doing so. “There are few Republicans who have turned out to be bigger disappointments for conservatives than Elise Stefanik,” Terry Schilling of the American Principles Project wrote in the Hill last year.
A run for office has seemed like the next stop for Ratigan since he left MSNBC in 2012. At the time, he told the Times his plans once he was off the air: “Basically my plan is to meet with tons of people, learn from tons of people, and then figure out a way to take the narrative I’ve been talking about, and show the most effective ways to resolve it.”
And even before that, he was getting in practice talking trash about Trump. In a 2011 Q&A with New York, he called the future president “a draft-dodging, race-baiting phony who happens to be right about trade with China.”