Pat Ryan (D) and Marc Molinaro (R) are running in the special election to fill the seat representing New York’s 19th Congressional District in the U.S. House on August 23, 2022. Former incumbent Antonio Delgado (D) resigned after Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) selected him as lieutenant governor. The winner of the special election will serve the rest of Delgado’s term that ends on January 3, 2023.
The special election is one of two elections for New York’s 19th District in 2022. The other is the regularly scheduled election on November 8.
The boundaries of the 19th District changed in 2022 due to redistricting. The special election will be held under the old district lines, while the November election will be held in the newly redrawn district. The old district has a partisan lean of R+4, according to FiveThirtyEight, while the redrawn district has a partisan lean of R+1.
“The current 19th is a swing district, and the special election has outsized national implications, as it will determine the size of the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives for the remainder of the 117th Congress,” said The Times Union’s Timmy Facciola. “The victor will also gain incumbent status before the November midterm elections, for which both Molinaro and Ryan have declared their candidacies in New York’s newly drawn districts,” Facciola added.
Molinaro is running to represent the 19th District in both the special and November general elections. Ryan is running for the 19th District in the special election and for the redrawn 18th District in the November general election.
Ryan has served as Ulster County executive since 2019. A tech entrepreneur and former Army intelligence officer, Ryan has highlighted his military service and business experience. Ryan has also focused on abortion, saying, “I fought to defend the freedoms of this country and access to abortion is a fundamental freedom.” Ryan ran in the 2018 Democratic primary for the 19th District, finishing in second place with 18% of the vote to Delgado’s 22%.
Molinaro has served as Dutchess County executive since 2012 and was the Republican nominee for governor of New York in 2018, losing to incumbent Andrew Cuomo (D) 57% to 36%. Molinaro has highlighted his support for measures that encourage investment in digital assets. Molinaro’s website says, “Blockchain technology […] has the potential to provide a system of online banking to those who have never before had access.”
Both candidates have focused on opioid addiction and mental health issues. Ryan said he directed investments from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to local mental health programs. “We saw suicides in Ulster County during the pandemic double. We saw fatal opioid overdoses up 93 percent,” Ryan said. “So a lot of what we’re doing with the Rescue Plan funds at the local level is reinvesting in mental health,” he added.
Molinaro said he supports expanding access to mental healthcare and addressing “the country’s mental and behavioral health crisis through local community needs.” On opioid addiction, Molinaro said he supports opening crisis stabilization centers, creating a local opioid response grant program, and addressing the trafficking of illegal drugs such as fentanyl. “We can end this epidemic, but we must do so by treating it as [a] public health crisis and the people suffering from it with dignity and care,” Molinaro said.
As of July 16, 2022, 16 special elections have been called during the 117th Congress. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held.