NEW KINGSTON Tuesday’s fiercely contested House special election may offer tempting signals as to which party will have the advantage come November 8’s midterm elections.
Republican Marc Molinaro wants to turn the election into a vote on crime, inflation, and one-party tyranny in Washington. Meanwhile, the Democratic candidate Pat Ryan’s campaign serves as a demonstration of the need of protecting American democracy and abortion rights as electoral concerns.
Democrats are attempting to retain Antonio Delgado’s seat after he left to become lieutenant governor of New York. President Joe Biden won the district by around 2 points in 2020 after Donald Trump and Barack Obama carried it in their winning campaigns. The district has reflected the national trend in previous elections. From the district’s establishment in the 2012 election cycle until the 2018 blue wave, when Delgado captured it for Democrats, Republicans held the district.
Before the November midterm elections redraw the map and the ballot for the seat in the following two years, the victor will only hold office in Congress for a few months. However, the race has attracted attention due to its national significance.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who comes from a neighboring district, is playing down hopes for his party, claiming that the 19th Congressional District is a “very conservative region of New York.”
According to Maloney, it will be an earthquake if the Republicans lose this special election. And more proof that voters in New York are holding them accountable for restricting reproductive freedom, like they did in Kansas.
Given their campaign funding, he claimed that Republicans should have had an easy time winning, and he added: “I’m really pleased of our candidate, Pat Ryan.” He is an accomplished small company entrepreneur, West Point graduate, and combat hero. And I predict that tomorrow, he’ll surprise a lot of people.
Democrats claim that Republicans are outspending them despite it being unknown how much money they have spent. According to a source familiar with the purchase, the super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund, which backs GOP House candidates, spent $650,000 on advertisements in the last weeks.
In a recent survey conducted by the Democratic Campaign Committee and supplied to NBC News, Ryan was found to be 3 points behind Molinaro, within the poll’s stated margin of sampling error. In the final run, Democratic leaders have been cautious about displaying confidence; instead, they have positioned themselves as underdogs. As opposed to Molinaro, who will run in the newly redesigned 19th district, Ryans will be competing in a different district, raising fears about voter confusion.
Republicans, though, are also tempering their hopes because they are concerned about voter participation on their side. It has been difficult to predict turnout, said a GOP strategist involved in the election, who compared it to a coin toss.
However, the election may provide an answer to a crucial question: Which party is better at getting people to the polls? Will the pain of inflation and the unpopularity of Biden encourage Republicans while dampening Democratic fervor? Or will the Supreme Court’s decision to nullify the constitutional right to an abortion serve as the rallying point on which Democrats are counting to stem a tide of Republican support?
This is the kind of red-to-blue district that produced Democrats’ present House majority, and it isn’t expendable if the party wants to retain control. However, the congressional map will alter after the election on November 8. It contains rural conservative areas as well as liberal strongholds like Kingston and Woodstock.
In the first competitive congressional race since the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, Ryan’s campaign has focused on abortion message. His yard signage said choice is on the ballot. Speaking in New Paltz over the weekend with female supporters on either side, he urged people to recall their outrage at the decision and put that outrage into action.
The stakes for our nation, our democracy, and our neighborhood could not be higher. Ryan stated to NBC News, “It is vitally essential that we place choice at the heart of our campaign because of my opponent’s radical anti-choice record, which includes rejecting the same statute that safeguarded abortion rights even if the woman’s life is in danger and in circumstances of rape and incest. We won’t turn around, and we won’t surrender easily. Choice is on the ballot, and this election will serve as a predictor of November’s results.
An Iraq War veteran, Ryan has positioned abortion access as a freedom issue by adopting Kansas Democrats’ strategy and utilizing language frequently used to appeal to conservative or libertarian voters. Democrats competing on the issue throughout the nation will be emboldened by Kansas’ resounding defeat of an anti-abortion constitutional amendment.
While some of his party colleagues have leaned toward anti-abortion rhetoric, Molinaro has attempted to minimize the abortion debate. Instead, he has attacked Biden and the Democratic leadership while concentrating his campaign on the economics. In a video released on Monday, Molinaro urges voters to express their displeasure with Joe Biden’s inflation by viewing the election as a referendum on the effectiveness of those in Washington.
A request for additional comment from the Molinaro campaign went unanswered on Monday.
Democrats are concerned that Molinaro is more well-known now that the GOP nominated him for governor in 2018 and he ran statewide. Since he was 18 years old, he has been active in local politics. In 1995, he was elected as the nation’s youngest mayor. Republicans are concerned that, in contrast to Democrats, who have a number of competitive primaries across the state on Tuesday, a lack of competitive primaries in their party may reduce conservative turnout.
The election falls on a primary day, according to a second Republican operative working on the contest, who also pointed out that Democrats in New York turn up in greater numbers for intra-party contests in which independents are unable to vote.
The operative predicted that this election will be even more unique than previous special elections.
Dasha Burns reported from Kingston, New York, while Sahil Kapur reported from New York City.