Former MSNBC Anchor Dylan Ratigan Running for Congress

Dylan Ratigan - The Third Industrial Revolution Los Angeles premiere -Getty-H 2018
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Ratigan, who left MSNBC in 2012, is running as a Democrat against an incumbent Republican.

Former CNBC and MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan is getting into politics. On Wednesday afternoon, Ratigan formally announced that he's running for Congress as a Democrat in New York's 21st congressional district, which encompasses several counties in the northern part of the state.

At his campaign announcement in Saranac Lake, N.Y., Ratigan said he's distinguished from the other candidates in the race and the incumbent Republican by his "expertise and history in direct engagement with our federal politicians around the issue of whether resources are being driven into communities or are taken from them."

Ratigan said his campaign is going to be different, and will focus on direct engagement. He said he's been "stunned by the lack of seriousness in our politics."

"I don't have the privilege of running polls and producing messaging because the other thing that distinguishes me from every other person in this congressional race is that I have a decade of Internet content of my big mouth running," he said. "I have thousands of hours of cable television, arguing with congressmen and senators, losing my temper and frustration and yelling. Can you imagine what my opponent will do with that video?"

Ratigan spent three years at MSNBC before leaving the network — and the television business — in 2012. Before that, he worked as an executive for Bloomberg News and an anchor for CNBC.

Last spring, Ratigan was hired by his former MSNBC colleague Cenk Uygur as a contributor to the latter's Young Turks Network. Uygur told The Hollywood Reporter that Ratigan will be a "great" candidate.

"He's not going to be weighed down by any party orthodoxy," Uygur said. "He's a truly independent thinker. Dylan understands finance better than almost anyone in the country. And he understands that the establishment is not in the money creation business anymore, they're in the money extraction business. That is at the core of what is bothering the American people — they feel like they're getting ripped off and they're right. Dylan can show them how and hopefully begin to end it."

When he left MSNBC, network president Phil Griffin said that Ratigan's "distinct voice and his fearless approach to tackling complicated issues has been a key part of MSNBC’s growth and success."

If Ratigan is able to make it through the Democratic primary, he'd face off against incumbent Republican Elise Stefanik, who was first elected to Congress in 2014. (Nine other candidates have already declared for the Democratic primary in the district, which will be held in June.)

Stefanik is rated by the University of Virginia's Center for Politics as a "safe Republican," meaning that Ratigan would have a tough time unseating her. Donald Trump carried the district in the 2016 election.

"He’s from the North Country, which might make him palatable to many voters," said Geoffrey Skelley, an associate editor for the Center. "However, the problem for Ratigan or whomever the Democrats nominate will be that Elise Stefanik seems to be in a pretty good position to win reelection."

He said, though, that Ratigan "will certainly have fundraising connections."