Democrat Pat Ryan wins Swing District in troubling nod to GOP on abortion

Democratic congressional candidate Pat Ryan won a special election to represent a hotly contested upstate New York swing neighborhood seen by many as a bellwether for the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion ahead of the New York election. mid-term of 2022.

In a battle between two Hudson Valley county trustees, Ulster County executive Ryan beat neighboring Dutchess County executive Marc Molinaro on Tuesday night to gain control of the seat recently vacated by Democrat Antonio Delgado, who resigned to become lieutenant governor under current Governor Kathy Hochul.

With 95% of the count completed, Ryan had 51.9% of the vote to Molinaro’s 48.1, the race was reported by The Associated Press.

For many observers, Tuesday night’s vote was widely seen as one of the first major tests of voter enthusiasm following the US Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year to strike down historic protections against abortion established under the 1973 law. Roe vs. Wade decision.

Although Kansas voters vehemently rejected a move earlier this year to remove abortion protections enshrined in the state constitution, New York’s vote was the first game between a Republican and a Democrat. as a result of this decision, the contest being held in a highly competitive district in a state where abortion is currently legal.

Democratic congressional candidate Pat Ryan meets with voters in New York’s 19th congressional district.
Photo provided/Pat Ryan for Congress

Before the redistricting, the 19 of New Yorke The Congressional District — which encompasses parts of New York’s Hudson Valley and the Catskill Mountains — was traditionally considered a swing district on the state’s congressional map. President Joe Biden won the district by 2 points in 2020. Barack Obama won the district by significant margins in 2008 and 2012. And in 2016 Republican President Donald Trump took the district by 7 points. Until Delgado, however, voters in the district had not elected a Democrat to represent them in Congress since Democrat John Hall won re-election in 2008.

The math for Democrats got even tougher after the New York Supreme Court overturned newly drawn congressional maps designed to benefit Democrats, leaving Republicans with a slight competitive edge in the district.

Earlier this summer, the Republican National Congressional Committee designated NY-19 as one of six target seats it believed could swing statewide. The NRCC and the Republican-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund had invested more than $1.8 million in spending to oppose Ryan, according to campaign finance reports, an amount about three times what liberal groups spent to attack Molinaro. Going into election night, even progressive pollster Data for Progress predicted that Molinaro – a moderate – would win by 8 points, supported by a relatively low turnout of young and educated voters as well as a gravitation of independent voters. to the GOP.

But on the ground, Democratic enthusiasm was high, matching similar turnout increases seen in elections held in other Republican-dominated districts across the country this year.

In Ulster and Dutchess counties – the source of about half of the district’s votes – early vote totals weighed heavily in favor of Ryan, while figures like Hochul traveled to the district on Monday night to rally the Democrats to the polls. Meanwhile, Democrats in the district have blamed division within the regional Republican Party and Molinaro’s reluctance to get into the abortion debate as potential benefits for Democrats in the district, where Ryan’s campaign has put focus on issues such as access to abortion.

“I think there’s a real conversation to be had here about voters in the Hudson River Valley not being culturally conservative like a lot of voters in the other districts who have traditionally voted Republican,” Paolo Cremidis , a former New York State Democratic Party official and executive director of rural progressive organizing group Outrun Coalition, said Newsweek.

“I saw a lot of Democratic energy on the pitch,” he added. “Molinaro’s refusal to talk about choice and other issues that are extremely important to voters in the riding right now has been kind of a handicap because he’s stuck in a position where he can’t argue about choice. He hasn’t been able to really qualify his position.”


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