- Rich Klein
Battle of County Execs To Fill Delgado's Seat In Congress But Ryan Still Has Eyes On 18th
Updated: May 19, 2022
KINGSTON - In yet another 11th-hour surprise in New York State politics in recent months, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, a Democrat, on Tuesday announced that he will challenge Dutchess County Executive Mark Molinaro, a Republican, for Congressman Antonio Delgado's 19th District seat in a special election to be held in August.
But Ryan's campaign team says that the West Point graduate will also run for the newly designed 18th Congressional seat in November. In that district, State Senator James Skoufis of Cornwall might also throw his hat into the ring.
The move seems designed by the state's Democratic leaders to do everything they can to hold onto Delgado's seat at a time when every Congressional vote on legislation counts leading up to the midterm elections. Many political pundits are projecting that both the House of Representatives and Senate, now controlled by Democrats, will return to Republican hands come January.
Ryan, who finished second to Delgado out of seven candidates in their 2018 Democratic primary for the CD 19 seat, received the endorsement of Delgado in a tweet late Tuesday.
"I'm honored to support him in the special election," Delgado, who is now the Lt. Governor-Designate, said. Delgado's own Democratic primary for Lt. Governor is June 28 where he faces multiple opponents.
"We are in an existential battle for our democracy," Ryan said in a video message announcing his entrance into a Congressional race for the second time this week..
Molinaro cried foul about the special election process led by Governor Kathy Hochul that did not include the voters in the 19th.
"Apparently Democrats in Albany have decided on a date for the special election, and only informed their hand-picked candidate of the date and details of the election," Molinaro tweeted Tuesday. "Although this decision was made without any input from the people of the 19th Congressional District, I am pleased that we will be filling the vacancy left by Antonio Delgado."
Ryan has served as Ulster County executive since June 2019, when he won a special election that was created after former executive Mike Hein resigned the position to take a job in Albany.
Aside from Ryan and Molinaro, Democrat Josh Riley - with ties to the counties of Broome and Tompkins - announced Monday he is entering the 19th District special election race.
And Sullivan source with knowledge of the situation said that Democratic State Senator Michelle Hinchey (Ulster County) might consider a run in either the 18th or 19th District as well. Hinchey is the daughter of the late Congressman Maurice Hinchey, who was also a long-time member of the State Assembly.