Special election for Hudson Valley Congressional seat puts abortion rights, Republican gains to the test

A four-month stint in the House is up for grabs in the Hudson Valley as the Special Election for New York's 19th Congressional District to replace the vacant seat now-Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado left behind.

Jonathan Gordon

Aug 20, 2022, 12:16 AM

Updated 603 days ago

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The Hudson Valley will set the stage for a congressional race of national importance when voters go to the polls next Tuesday.
The race for New York's 19th Congressional District will test the influence of abortion rights and the gains Republicans have made so far and are expected to continue to make this November in Congress.
Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and Democrat Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan will square off to fill out the remainder of now-Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado's term.
Delgado resigned from the House in May to work alongside New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Molinaro has served as the Dutchess Executive since 2012 and was the Republican nominee for governor of New York in 2018, losing that race to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
His platform focuses on reducing federal spending, rolling back bail reform to improve public safety, and cutting down on inflation to ease the cost of living.
"These issues all converge at a moment in time where you know, voters are anxious, and they're hopeful that someone is going to stand up for them, speak out for them, and go to battle on behalf of the district," said Molinaro.
Ryan on the other hand is newer to the political scene after winning the Ulster executive job in 2019. He is a West Point graduate, former Army officer who served two combat tours in Iraq and small business owner.
He wants to fight for abortion rights, lower health care costs and fund more investments in clean energy and the environment.
"We have to stand up and fight for fundamental rights and freedoms that are being ripped away from Americans across our country right now," said Ryan.
While both candidates find themselves on the predictable side of issues like crime and inflation, abortion rights will be the main focus.
This special election is among the first in the nation since the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade and the two candidates could not be further apart on the issue. This race should serve as a litmus test for how important abortion rights are to voters.
Molinaro is admittedly pro-life and considered abortion rights "settled law" until it was not. But now says it is not up to the federal government to overstep states' rights on the issue.
"Despite my opposition to late-term abortion there is wide and broad access [in New York]," said Molinaro.
Ryan on the other hand called the SCOTUS decision "an attack on fundamental rights for millions of Americans."
"Choice is on the ballot again in this race," said Ryan.
Ryan supports much of the work Democrats have done in Congress during President Joe Biden's first two years in office like the American Rescue Plan, bipartisan infrastructure deal and Inflation Reduction Act.
"That helped us in this community, invest in mental health, infrastructure, and small business relief," said Ryan.
Molinaro says Biden's first half has been mired with government overspending and overstepping arguing much of the work Democrats have done has created the economic and public safety situation the country is in.
"A government that is effective and smaller and more efficient can deliver better outcomes for people who struggle and need help," said Molinaro.
The winner of this race will not only get a four-month head start in Congress but incumbency status for November's general election, where redistricting makes things more complicated.
Win or lose on Tuesday Molinaro is running in New York's new 19th congressional district in November and will face the winner of Tuesday's Democratic primary between Jamie Cheney and Josh Riley.
Ryan on the other hand is simultaneously running in the special election and in a three-way Democratic primary to be the party's nominee in November's general election for the new 18th Congressional District.


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