The Battle for America 2010: Rep. John Hall Worried He’s Not ‘Still the One’
The former frontman for the pop-rock group Orleans is feeling the heat in New York's 19th Congressional District.
October 14, 2010 - 12:00 am
Orleans music lovers need to update their fan sites. It’s now a fact: “Vote with Me” is Democratic Congressman John Hall’s least favorite song and he has made the legal threats to prove it.
Don’t be fooled by the playful guitar riff or catchy melody. This song is quickly becoming a headache for the incumbent. Despite his best efforts, it’s not going away.
Those of you who haven’t completely repressed the 1970s might remember John Hall as the former frontman for the mostly naked pop-rock group Orleans. He was the musical mastermind behind elevator classics with three-word titles like “Still the One” and “Dance with Me.” That was until 2006, when he was swept into office with a majority of fellow Democrats, winning the race to represent New York’s 19th Congressional District. This year he is pressed hard to defend his seat against a strong conservative challenger in Nan Hayworth. In fact, a recent Daily Kos/Public Policy poll showed Nan Hayworth up two points.
As you would expect, being a hit rocker has its fundraising benefits. John Hall’s celebrity has been a key strategy to his re-election. He books fellow music performers to hold concerts as opposed to campaigning. For example, he has opted for OFA astroturf over leading and organizing a local campaign, presented New Jersey Congressman Robert Andrews at a local town hall to explain his vote on health care, and sent a local mayor to read his answers at a debate he was supposed to attend with Nan Hayworth. If not campaigning, there is one thing that John Hall is interested in, and that is pulling Nan Hayworth’s Young Voters for an Orleans Reunion Tour off the Internet.
Like many brilliant ideas, the birth of Nan’s Young Voters occurred while sipping coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. “We had just finished greeting commuters at a train station and were talking about how we liked Hall’s music, even though we thought his politics were driving our country off a cliff,” group leader and Yale student Michael Knowles explained. John Hall might just be one of the only congressmen proud to have “gone Washington” and like the rest of the 111th Congressional Democrat Caucus, John Hall believes his “constituency is Nancy Pelosi.” There wasn’t an Obama agenda item John Hall didn’t try to check: government bailouts, cap and trade, ObamaCare — I’m sure you are familiar with the list by now. In response, Nan’s Young Voters envisioned a website dedicated to reuniting John Hall with his old band.
Instantly, the idea paid dividends in media attention. The group’s first video was picked up by the New York Daily News, one of New York’s largest statewide newspapers. Realizing that what they had created was the perfect counter to Hall’s rock celebrity, they produced their own “Dance with Me” spoof music video called “Vote with Me.”