Ryan defeats Molinaro in New York’s 19th Congressional District special election

Pat Ryan (D) defeated Marc Molinaro (R) in the special election for New York’s 19th Congressional District on Aug. 23, 2022. Ryan received 51% of the vote to Molinaro’s 49%.

Former incumbent Antonio Delgado (D) resigned from Congress in May after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) selected him as lieutenant governor. Ryan will serve the rest of Delgado’s term, which ends on Jan. 3, 2023.

The Times Union‘s Timmy Facciola wrote in May, “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.”

Ryan has served as Ulster County executive since 2019. In 2018, he ran in the Democratic primary for the 19th District, finishing in second place with 18% of the vote to Delgado’s 22%.

According to the Times Union‘s Roger Hannigan Gilson, “Ryan connected Molinaro with the Republican-supported Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, stating repeatedly that ‘choice was on the ballot'[.] … Ryan has called the election ‘a referendum on Roe.’” Ryan also highlighted his military service as an Army intelligence officer.

Molinaro was elected Dutchess County executive in 2011. In 2018, he was the Republican nominee for governor of New York, losing to then-incumbent Andrew Cuomo (D) 60% to 36%. Molinaro has also served as a member of the New York State Assembly and as mayor of Tivoli, New York.

Gilson wrote that Molinaro “attacked Ryan as being soft on crime” and said Molinaro “touted his broad experience in elected office and pointed to his history of keeping taxes low in [Dutchess County].” Molinaro also highlighted his support for measures encouraging investment in digital assets.

Both candidates also focused on opioid addiction and mental health issues.

The boundaries of the 19th District changed due to redistricting after the 2020 census. The special election was held under the old district lines, while the November general election will be held in the newly redrawn district. The old district had a partisan lean of R+4, according to FiveThirtyEight, while the redrawn district has a partisan lean of R+1.

In addition to running in the special election for the 19th District, Molinaro is running in the general election for the redrawn 19th District, and Ryan is running in the general election for the redrawn 18th district.

This election was one of 17 special elections called so far during the 117th Congress.