Republicans see an opportunity to gain a seat when New York Gov. Kathy Hochul calls a special election to replace Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado.
Mrs. Hochul tapped the congressman to be her new lieutenant governor and running mate, after the resignation of Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin on federal corruption charges.
Mr. Delgado is expected to resign this month.
According to New York law, Mrs. Hochul has 10 days following Mr. Delgado‘s official resignation to set a date for a special election, which will take place between 70 and 80 days after that. The timing could land the election day between mid-July and the beginning of August, depending on when Mr. Delgado announces his resignation.
Instead of primaries, county party leaders can choose their nominees.
GOP congressional lawmakers, and New York Republican and conservative county officials have endorsed Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro as their nominee. When the race is made official, Mr. Molinaro is likely to earn their support for the special election in New York‘s 19th Congressional District.
Additionally, the race will happen under the previous congressional boundaries established last decade, which make the district more competitive.
The Democratic proposed redistricting map from the state legislature was recently rejected by New York‘s highest court, forcing the judge to appoint a special master. He is currently redrawing the congressional and state senate boundaries.
Mr. Molinaro said he is ready to take on a new Democratic challenger.
“Our communities need a proven leader in Congress,” he wrote on Twitter. “One with a track record of working to find common ground and real solutions, so America and Americans reach our full potential. I’ve done it in the Hudson Valley. I’ve done it in Albany. I will do it again in Washington.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee took a shot at New York Democrats over the events following Mr. Delgado‘s retirement.
“Democrats across the country are jumping ship because they know they are doomed. NY-19 is a top pick-up opportunity,” NRCC spokeswoman Samantha Bullock said in a statement.
The Washington Times reached out to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for comment, but did not hear back.
Ulster County Executive Patrick Ryan, a Democrat, said Friday he will announce soon whether he plans to run for Mr. Delgado‘s seat. New York political insiders told The Washington Times that three or four other Democrats are considering running for the seat.
State Sen. Michelle Hinchey, a Democrat who previously expressed interest in the seat, decided to run for reelection in the state legislature instead.
The race will decide who will serve out the remainder of Mr. Delgado‘s term in office this year. Mr. Molinaro has a fundraising head start on whomever his Democratic challenger may be. Federal records show he had over $730,000 cash on hand during the last filing period in March.
The final say on this district’s boundaries in the fall is in the hands of the court-appointed special master, whom Democrats hope will maintain the seat’s bluer regions to keep the district in their party’s territory. But he could also cut away Ulster County and Democratic cities like Binghamton and Utica, giving the advantage to a Republican.