An interesting Republican victory unfolded Thursday night when US Rep-elect Marc Molinaro squeaked out a win in New York’s 19th Congressional District, defeating Democrat Josh Riley, who had been appointed in May of 2022 to serve as Lt. Governor of the state under Kathy Hochul.
Molinaro defeated Riley 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent with 95 percent of the voting precincts reporting, according to the AP.
Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives had several wins in New York City’s suburbs, seizing a seat in an area once considered safely Democratic, defending others, and appearing on the verge of picking up additional wins in districts the party hasn’t won in years.
The once leftist strongholds in New York appear to have taken on some new focus as Americans are at their breaking point with out-of-control issues in the state.
The gain of Molinaro on Thursday was a special victory.
Local NY media reported that by early Wednesday, Republicans had won at least seven seats in Congress from New York, just one less than their current representation in the state’s delegation. They were leading or within a percentage point of the lead in five more races.
“Republicans had an unexpectedly strong showing in local elections on Long Island last year that emboldened candidates to reach for possible upsets in two congressional districts now represented by Democrats,” Syracuse.com reported, adding:
“One of the nation’s bluest states, New York became an unexpected opportunity for Republicans due to voter dissatisfaction and a more favorable political map.
Republicans also were in close contests in congressional districts in the Hudson Valley and Catskills. That result seemed unlikely earlier this year, when the Democrat-controlled state Legislature redrew the boundaries of New York’s congressional districts along party-friendly lines.
The brazen showing by Republicans on Long Island came after the city’s suburbs emerged as an unlikely battleground for control of the House.
“I am incredibly grateful to the people in New York’s 19th Congressional District. I commend my opponent Josh Riley because running for office is incredibly challenging – and credit belongs to the individual who enters the arena,”Marc Molinaro #NY19 🇺🇸 (@marcmolinaro) posted on November 9, 2022.
I am incredibly grateful to the people in New York’s 19th Congressional District. I commend my opponent Josh Riley, because running for office is incredibly challenging – and credit belongs to the individual who enters the arena. pic.twitter.com/Nqfve1jf4n
— Marc Molinaro #NY19 🇺🇸 (@marcmolinaro) November 9, 2022
The district, which was redrawn this year, had been represented by Delgado.
“Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, had been the Republican candidate for governor in 2018 but was beaten handily by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, according to the New York Post,” The Western Journal reported.
“Tonight, the voters of upstate sent a message that they demand a government that works for them,” Molinaro said in a Tuesday night statement, according to Spectrum News.
“They just want to feed their families, heat their homes and feel safe in their communities. I’m honored to have earned the trust of more than 100,000 voters, and I will work everyday to be a worthy member of Congress for both those who did, and did not vote for me,” he said.
Speaking to supporters in Binghamton, New York, Tuesday night, Molinaro offered a message of unity, according to the Albany Times-Union.
“We have an opportunity to bring people together, Republicans and Democrats, and send a message to Washington, D.C., that we mean business,” he said.
“We know there are too many families, farmers, small businesses all across upstate New York struggling too hard, getting too little in return and paying far too much,” Molinaro said.
After his win became official Wednesday, Molinaro issued a statement trying to heal hard feelings from the campaign.
“I commend my opponent Josh Riley, because running for office is incredibly challenging — and credit belongs to the individual who enters the arena,” he said, according to the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin.
“Looking forward, my goal is to listen to, learn from and serve all of this district. Together we will focus on solutions to address inflation, crime and mental health, along with having the best constituent services for upstate New York,” he said.
Riley also offered a message of working together.
“Growing up here, I learned some important values: work hard; be humble; have each other’s backs; there’s more that unites us than divides us,” Riley said in the statement.
“This is not the result we had hoped for, and I’ll be honest: I’m disappointed. But I’m not discouraged. In fact, quite the opposite: this campaign has inspired me. It has been the privilege of my career to build this campaign with all of you and take it across upstate New York, meeting with so many people who have given me hope,” he said.