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A former aspiring New York congressional candidate who’d fought in Afghanistan was found dead on Tuesday only days after dropping out of the 2022 race.
Attorney Kyle Van De Water, an Afghanistan war veteran, was found dead in a cemetery after the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department received a report of a “man down,” according to the Mid Hudson News.
“Police sources say that the death is being investigated as a likely suicide,” according to the local outlet.
In July, the 41-year-old Republican reportedly announced his intention to challenge incumbent New York Rep. Antonio Delgado, a Democrat, in the 2022 election.
It was to be his second attempt at securing the seat. He tried in 2020 but ultimately lost to Delgado, although he did come in at second place with 151,000 votes.
Yet on Aug. 27th, as the situation in Afghanistan was spiraling out of control because of the Biden administration’s demonstrable incompetence, Delgado suddenly posted an update to social media announcing that he was dropping out of the race:
I have been truly humbled by and will be forever grateful for all of the support I have received these past few years….
“I have been truly humbled by and will be forever grateful for all of the support I have received these past few years. It has been an honor getting to meet so many of you as I traveled across the district,” he wrote.
“Unfortunately, circumstances in my life have changed and I am no longer able to give 110 percent towards this endeavor. For the good of the party, and the district, I have decided to withdraw my candidacy. I look forward to vigorously and enthusiastically supporting the GOP candidate in 2022,” he added.
Eleven days later, he was found dead allegedly from suicide, raising the question of whether his death is linked to him dropping out, and whether his dropping out is in turn linked to the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan.
De Water’s campaign website says he “was born in Rhinebeck,” “raised in Poughkeepsie” and, after attending the University of Massachusetts at Amherst on an ROTC scholarship, joined the Army Reserves and began attending law school.
“After passing the Bar exam he became an active duty member of the United States Army in 2006, assigned to the Judicial Advocate General’s Corps. This service included working as an Administrative Law Attorney at the United State Military Academy, West Point before being deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan where he was awarded the Bronze Star in 2011,” it reads.
“He received the Meritorious Service Medal and his honorable discharge from the Army in 2014. He continues to serve in the U.S. Army Reserves JAG Corps, holding the rank of Major, and works as a Litigation Attorney at Corbally, Gartland & Rappleyea, LLP in Poughkeepsie,” the biography continues.
De Water’s death has spurred widespread condolences, including — to his credit — from Delgado.
May God rest Kyle’s soul. And may God bless his family. pic.twitter.com/5brIW5cesM
— Congressman Antonio Delgado (@repdelgado) September 7, 2021
“My heart breaks for Kyle, and his beautiful family. We shared a number of conversations about family and country, and I walked away from each one knowing that he had a profound love for both,” he said.
“Kyle’s death is tragically felt not only on an individual level, but also nationally, as far too many veterans across our country are going without the support and care that their service to our great land undoubtedly necessitates,” the congressman added.
Delgado was 100 percent correct. Amid the crisis in Afghanistan, there’s been a surge in calls to veteran suicide hotlines. Veterans who fought in Afghanistan understandably feel devastated over the ruinous condition that the Biden administration left the nation in and over the tens of thousands of allies the administration abandoned.
The Veterans Crisis Line has seen a sharp uptick in the volume of calls received from veterans. I want to ensure the crisis line has the resources to proactively help every veteran who needs it. Read our letter to the VA Secretary demanding he prioritize this vital resource. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/lg5FUDzel5
— Congresswoman Tenney (@RepTenney) September 3, 2021
However, it’s unclear how De Water had felt about the crisis in Afghanistan. It doesn’t appear he’d uploaded any Facebook posts or tweets about it.
Local officials have also expressed condolences over his death.
“My heart is broken for Kyle’s children and family,” Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said in his own statement Tuesday.
“Kyle was a war hero who put his life and well-being on the line for his country. We owe him, his family, and all of our brave service men and women everything for the sacrifices they’ve made,” he added.
My heart is broken for Kyle’s children & family. My prayers are with them as they attempt to come to grips with this tragedy. Kyle was a war hero… We owe him, his family & all our brave service men and women everything for the sacrifices they have made. pic.twitter.com/UWPyxVgf0j
— Marc Molinaro (@marcmolinaro) September 7, 2021
It appears from photos on De Water’s Facebook page that he left behind four young children and a wife.
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