Republicans eye second Democratic seat to flip in New York special election
New York’s 19th congressional district is being closely watched as a showpiece race for this year’s midterm elections.
Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, a Republican, will face Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, a Democrat, in a special election on August 23 to fill the vacated seat.
New York Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, a Democrat, relinquished the upstate congressional seat in May when he was selected to be Gov. Kathy Hochul’s No. 2 and running mate during this year’s gubernatorial election.
Fearing a repeat of the seat lost in a special election in Texas earlier this year, national Democrats are pumping money into the race in New York to fend off an emboldened Mr. Molinaro.
Both campaigns and their allies launched a flurry of ads to energize their bases for the special election. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee aired a joint TV ad with Mr. Ryan’s campaign on abortion rights. The National Republican Congressional Committee and the Molinaro camp launched a television ad emphasizing the issue of inflation.
The DCCC, which is the campaign arm of House Democrats, changed tack after low spending in the Texas special election. Political newcomer Mayra Flores flipped that longtime South Texas Democratic seat to the GOP column.
Ms. Hochul’s decision to snatch Mr. Delgado from the district gave Republicans a chance to secure a vacant seat rather than an incumbent, slightly improving the GOP’s chances of success in the swing district.
Mr Ryan, 36, an Iraq war veteran, ran for the seat in 2018 but finished second in the primary behind Mr Delgado. He was elected to the Ulster County leadership position the following year.
Mr. Molinaro, 46, began his political career at 19 as mayor of Tivoli, New York, before serving in the state legislature. He then became the GOP nominee for governor. He was re-elected as Dutchess County Executive in 2019.
Mr. Delagado replaced the lieutenant governor at the last minute after Ms. Hochul’s first choice, Brian Benjamin, resigned in disgrace after federal prosecutors charged him with corruption, fraud and tampering with records as a as a state senator.
The district, which includes Dutchess, Ulster and Columbia counties and the Catskills areas, has swung its support between Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. Voters there backed former President Barack Obama twice and then former President Donald Trump in 2016. In 2020, the district backed President Biden by a narrow margin.
Prior to being represented by Mr. Delgado, the district was represented by Representative John Faso, a Republican.
The winner of the special election – which will be held on the same day as the New York primary election – will serve Mr. Delgado’s term but will have to run for a full term in the new district in the general election in November.