Aspiring GOP representative who served in Afghanistan is found dead in upstate New York cemetery


A GOP congressional hopeful and Afghanistan was found dead in an upstate New York cemetery after a suspected suicide, two weeks after withdrawing his candidacy to represent New York’s 19th congressional district.

On Monday night, local police responded to a report of a ‘man down’ at the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery before identifying the body as belonging to Kyle Van De Water, 41. 

While there have been no official statements about the cause of his death, police sources told local outlet MidHudsonNews.com that it’s being investigated as a likely suicide. 

Van De Water, 41, an attorney and father of four, served in the U.S. Army for eight years and ran unsuccessfully against Democrat Antonio Delgado for Congress in 2020, losing that race by 11 per cent. 

He was set to run again in 2022 but announced the end of his campaign in an August 27 Facebook post, in which he wrote, ‘circumstances in my life have changed and I am no longer able to give 110% towards this endeavor.’ 

Kyle Van De Water, 41, a GOP congressional hopeful and Afghanistan veteran, was found dead at Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery on Monday night

Van De Water, 41, an attorney and father of four, served in the U.S. Army for eight years

Van De Water, 41, an attorney and father of four, served in the U.S. Army for eight years

Van De Water grew up in Poughkeepsie and graduated from Spackenkill High School in 1998 before going to Albany Law School, from which he graduated in 2005.

He joined the U.S. Army in 2006 and, five years later, he earned the Bronze Star during his service in Afghanistan followed by earning the Meritorious Service Medal and an honorable discharge in 2014, according to his website. He held the rank of Major and continued to serve in the Army Reserves JAG Corps.

Van De Water was an attorney at Corbally, Gartland and Rappleyea in Poughkeepsie, and settled in Millbrook and served as a village trustee, according to his Linkedin Page.

He was defeated by Delgado in the 2020 general election, where he took in about 44per cent of the vote. He announced that he would be running again in July and campaigned for about a month before withdrawing on August 27.

In his Facebook post on the matter, he wrote, ‘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 added, ‘Unfortunately, circumstances in my life have changed and I am no longer able to give 110% 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.’  

His body was found at Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery. While there has been no confirmed cause of death, police sources said it's being investigated as a possible suicide

His body was found at Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery. While there has been no confirmed cause of death, police sources said it’s being investigated as a possible suicide

Van De Water ran unsuccessfully against Democrat Antonio Delgado for Congress in 2020

Van De Water ran unsuccessfully against Democrat Antonio Delgado for Congress in 2020

Van De Water’s death was confirmed on social media by Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and Representative Antonio Delgado. 

Molinaro said he got to know more about Van De Water during his run against Delgado last year. In a statement, he said, ‘My heart is broken for Kyle’s children and family. My prayers are with them as they attempt to come to grips with this absolute tragedy.’

He continued, ‘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 have made.’

Despite the cause of Van De Water’s death still being under investigation, Molinaro offered resources for veterans and their loved ones who may be in crisis and said, ‘to all our service men and women who struggle upon returning home, and anyone who may be struggling with this news, please now that help is always available to you.’ 

Delgado shared a similar sentiment and said, ‘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. I know he will be immensely missed, and I’m praying for all who loved him – his friends, fellow soldiers, and family.’

He added, ‘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. We can and must do better. May God rest Kyle’s soul. And may God bless his family,’ Delgado said, including the number for a veterans crisis line: 1-800-273-8255.  

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ 2020 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report shows that 17.6 veterans died by suicide each day in 2018. In 2018, 326 active-duty troops died by suicide, 350 died by suicide in 2019 and 385 in 2020, according to statistics published by the U.S. Pentagon.  

For confidential support call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255



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