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11:30 AM

Lovable Losers 

Hall & Votes

Praying for a politics of hope? Well, the Democratic candidate for Congress in the Hudson Valley's Nineteenth District has been fighting for a better, groovier tomorrow for three decades. As co-leader of seventies soft-rock hit makers Orleans, John Hall mellowed out our worried post-Watergate minds with tunes like "Still the One" and "Dance With Me."

Hall, a longtime environmental activist, served two years in the Ulster County Legislature (1989–1991). He may be inexperienced, but he is no stranger to political conflict. When the Bush campaign used "Still the One" as a theme song, Hall sent over a cease-and-desist order. The president found another song.

"I thought it was pretty typical of this administration," Hall told the Times Herald-Record on September 17. "They assumed they could use anything they wanted without permission, and they were too incompetent to do a Google search and see that I had been elected as a Democrat."

Hall bested three other candidates in the Democratic primary, but the general election is more intimidating. Four-term GOP incumbent Sue Kelly may be vulnerable in a year when the Bush administration is up for a no-confidence vote, but she has nearly $1.3 million to Hall's not-quite $246,000 (as of August 23). Also, Hall's contemplation of impeachment could be a little much for this largely suburban district that elected George Bush by nine points over John Kerry.

So Hall is an inexperienced environmentalist liberal with no money in a conservative district.

But he's got what Kelly never will: He's got the beat. Sing it with me now:

Fantasy could never be so giving
I feel free I hope that you are willing
Pick the beat up and kick your feet up
Dance with me

Dance on, John Hall. Dance on.

John Hall for Congress
Sue Kelly for Congress