Democratic Candidate Fights Climate Change While Driving Gas Guzzler

REUTERS/Rick Wilking

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Democratic House candidate Gareth Rhodes has made climate change a campaign issue while simultaneously driving hundreds of miles in a 1999 Ford Winnebago.

Rhodes — who is mounting a challenge for GOP Rep. John Faso’s seat in New York’s 19th congressional district — has joined other Democrats in calling for more action to combat climate change. Rhodes believes humans don’t have time to wait when it comes to saving the environment, and he is striving for a “fossil-fuel-free future,” according to his campaign website. The New York Democrat, who is currently in a primary battle for his party’s nomination, consistently makes environmental issues a part of his campaign theme.

However, the environmentally conscious candidate has adopted a seemingly contradictory form of travel. After officially jumping into the race, Rhodes has vowed to visit all 163 towns within New York’s 19th district, not in a Tesla Model 3 or Nissan Leaf, but in a 1999 Ford Winnebago. Footage of him crisscrossing the district in the RV has become a mainstay of his campaign.

“We’re running a different kind of campaign. One focused on people, not polls. Community, not consultants. And that’s why I’m traveling to all 163 towns in NY-19 in my 1999 Ford Winnebago,” Rhodes wrote in a Medium post published on April 10 and titled “3 days. 525 miles. 7 towns.”

Recreational vehicles, of course, get substantially fewer miles per gallon than standard cars. Estimates range, but the typical RV gets around eight to 15 miles per gallon, requiring more gasoline and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The fact that Rhodes’ RV was made in the 90s doesn’t help.

“Hypocrisy is a character trait that Gareth Rhodes apparently mastered while working for Andrew Cuomo,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Chris Martin said in a statement Monday to The Daily Caller News Foundation. Martin’s comments were also in reference to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat whom he argued was equally responsible for hypocrisy on climate change.

Rhodes, however, argues that the emissions his campaign doles out are negated because he purchases carbon offsets through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The program allows Rhodes to fund green energy initiates elsewhere, but do not stop the pollutants emanating from his RV road trip.

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