Former MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan, who is running for Congress as a Democrat in New York's 21st congressional district, said in a recent interview that he never voted in an election and was "wrong" not to cast a ballot.
Ratigan appeared on the "Jeff Graham Show" last week to discuss his bid to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. The host asked Ratigan about several issues, including a nonexistent voting record, which prompted the candidate to say that he has never voted because of "utter disgust."
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"It's not a problem," Ratigan said. "Let's be honest with each other: the largest voting constituency in America is people who don't vote. You wanna know why they don't vote? Because they're disgusted. Because they're disgusted by a two-party political system that is running small little media companies that they call campaigns and then producing content that tries to destroy the identity and personal life of the other person."
Ratigan then said that he is one of those people, before adding that he "was wrong" not to vote and thought he could make "[his] difference" as a journalist and as a small-business owner.
"As I did that, you know what happened? It got worse and worse, and the government became less serious and less serious. And the risks of the country got bigger and bigger, and the opportunity to improve the country gets bigger as the risk gets bigger," Ratigan said. "My indulging, my disgust—my accurate assessment of the dysfunction of the two-party political system is something I can no longer indulge."
The National Republican Congressional Committee blasted Ratigan in a statement after the interview, noting that his first vote will be for himself.
"It's only fitting that Dylan Ratigan would move from New York City and the first vote he casts will be for himself," said NRCC spokesman Chirs Martin. "He's a liberal talking head with no voting record, and now he's running for Congress in a desperate grasp for relevance."
Ratigan said in another interview last week that, if the incumbent was a Democrat, he would "consider" running as a Republican.
On the "Jeff Graham Show," Ratigan was asked whether he would support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) to lead House Democrats if they win a majority, prompting the candidate to say that voting for her is something that he would have to "look at." He emphasized that Pelosi is "definitely not" one of his favorite politicians.
Ratigan was also asked whether he would vote this year to reelect New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.).
"What do you think of Andrew Cuomo? Are you going to vote for him this fall since you're back into voting now?" Graham asked.
"Probably not," Ratigan said
"Vote for the Republican?" Graham asked.
"I would have to look at who the candidates are, but it would be premature for me to voice an opinion on a vote for anything like that without actually looking who it is, and it's going to be very difficult for me because I rarely like the two choices that I'm offered," Ratigan said.
Ratigan, who has hosted shows on CNBC and MSNBC, is joining a crowded field of nine other candidates already vying for the district's Democratic nomination on June 26.