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Last Night’s Most Important Congressional Result Brought The GOP’s Worst Nightmare Into Stark Focus

New York State Primary Results... Meh

There were a lot of important primaries in New York and Florida yesterday, but in many ways the most consequential election was mostly symbolic— the special election to fill Antonio Delgado’s open seat in an Upstate New York district (NY-19) that is going to be very different starting with the 118th Congress. Delgado retired from Congress when he was appointed Lieutenant Governor by Kathy Hochul and the contest yesterday— pitting Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan against Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro— was just to fill the seat until January.

The 19th, the way it is currently configured, consisting of mostly rural communities in 11 counties— from biggest to smallest: Ulster, Duchess, Columbia, Greene, Sullivan, Rensselaer, Otsego, Delaware, Scholharie, Montgomery and the tiniest slivver of Broome. It’s a swing district that Obama won in 2012 with 52.1%, Trump won in 2016 with 50.8% and Biden won in 2020 with 49.8%. The way the district was configured gave an R+4 partisan lean. That’s the district that the special election took place in. (The new partisan lean— in the district that the primary took place in, is still swingy but slightly bluer— R+1. We’ll come back to that in a moment.)

I don’t know who expected conservative Democrat Pat Ryan to win the special election last night. I sure didn’t. And none of the polls predicted it, not even a late poll the DCCC commissioned, which they celebrated because Ryan was only down 3 points (46% to 43%). Ryan, like I said, a conservative Democrat, absolutely pounded away on Roe v Wade. It was the issue he would win or lose on. “We must rally what is the widely popularly held view by Americans, that the government should not have a say in individual health care decisions. I am confident that if we really fight that way, we can codify Roe and the principles of Roe, we can put in place things like an assault weapons ban.” And he won on it, albeit without agreeing that the Supreme Court would have to be expanded.

This morning’s Politico election analysis team led with that narrative: “A New York special election seen as the last, best test of the electorate’s midterm leanings confirmed what Democrats hoped and Republicans feared: Predictions of a red wave may be overblown… It would have been easy to write Nebraska off as a fluke, after Democrats ran better than expected in a House race there last month. But then came Minnesota, where Democrats again beat expectations. And then, in New York on Tuesday, the dam broke. ‘Well, shit,’ one Republican strategist texted late Tuesday, as results from a Hudson Valley special election filtered in. It would have been a victory for Democrats if they’d even kept it close. Instead, Democrat Pat Ryan beat Republican Marc Molinaro in a district that Joe Biden narrowly won in 2020, but that would have appeared to favor Republicans in a normal midterm climate. Overall, on the last major primary night of the year, the winds appeared to be shifting in Democrats’ favor… ‘If Pat Ryan out-and-out wins, or even comes within 5 points of beating Molinaro, all projections of a red wave are completely overblown,’ said New York-based Democratic strategist Jon Reinish, a former aide to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). ‘This race is really a canary in a coal mine.’”

Jackie Wang’s pre-dawn report for RollCall also headlined the portentous Ryan win, noting that the NRCC spent $1.2 million against Ryan, and McCarthy’s SuperPAC kicked in another $515,000 to boost Molinaro. The 2 candidates raised and spent approximately the same amount, but independent spending was heavily in Molinaro’s favor, the DCCC spending just $750 on the race. spent about half a million bolstering Ryan but almost all the rest of the outside spending was Republican money.

Punchbowl reported that House Dems “are ecstatic… holding onto a seat that had been heavily favored to swing into the GOP column. Democrats are now arguing that predictions of a Republican romp in November— which they’ve been hearing for the last 18 months or so— are wrong. And they’re pointing to abortion and the Supreme Court’s decision striking down Roe v. Wade as the key to Tuesday’s victory, and possibly the House this fall.” Molinaro ran a rote campaign straight from the GOP playbook: bashing Biden, inflation and crime. The bigger than expected turnout hurt the GOP’s chances and caused Cook election gurus Amy Walter, Jessica Taylor and David Wasserman to declare that the Red Wave Looks More Like a Ripple. “That sound you hear is the crash of expectations of big GOP gains in the House this fall. Democrats notched a huge victory in New York’s 19th CD last night as Democrat Pat Ryan defeated Republican Marc Molinaro 51% to 49% in a Hudson Valley special election both parties had invested in. That’s roughly the same margin President Biden had carried the seat by in 2020. The result shouldn’t be shocking, considering Democrats had outperformed in other recent specials in NE-01 and MN-01. But Molinaro, regarded as a pragmatic executive of blue-leaning Dutchess County, had led in multiple polls throughout the race. Ryan, the younger Ulster County executive and decorated Army veteran, prevailed after a late push to make abortion rights the centerpiece of the campaign.” That pretty much sums it up.

Now, Ryan also won his primary in the newly redrawn 18th district (Dutchess, Ulster and a bit of Orange counties), abandoned by Sean Patrick Maloney for Mondaire Jones’ slightly bluer seat. The 18th went from having no partisan lean (“even”) to now having a D+3 lean and Ryan will be favored to winning that seat in November. And, like I said, the new 19th went from R+4 to R+1. Molinaro will be running there, against Josh Riley, who wiped out a conservative EMILY’s List candidate, Jamie Cheney 63.5% to 36.5%. (Riley won everyone of the 11 counties, many of them different from the 11 counties in the old 19th.)

The Other Notable Results In New York

NY-03 (Nassau)- In one of the only losses for crypto-billionaire, his shill candidate right-wing Josh Lafazan lost big. (Sam Bankman-Fried puppet candidates Fran Conole, Laura Gillen, Maxwell Frost and Jared Moskowitz all won). Bankman-Fried’s crypto-SuperPAC spent around $800,000 on Lafazan, only to see him come in 3rd. The winner was establishment nothing/Hillary fundraiser Robert Zimmerman, who won with 35.8%. He stands for nothing and just wants to be in Congress before he dies.

NY-04 (Nassau)- Conservative Democrat Laura Gillen, another Bankman-Fried puppet, will replace Catherine Rice, another conservative Dem, who had endorsed Gillen. Tragically Gillen had no serious opposition.

NY-10 (Manhattan, Brooklyn)- Progressives split the vote so badly that conservative Dem Dan Goldman was able to buy the seat with $2 million from his own pocket (and a big last minute spend against Yuh-Line Niou by AIPAC). Goldman won the Manhattan part of the district and Yuh-Line Niou won the Brooklyn part of the district.

NY-11 (Staten Island, Brooklyn)- Blue Dog Max Rose beat progressive Brittany Ramos DeBarros and will now face Nicole Malliotakis (R), who is likely to whip his ass again.

NY-12 (Manhattan)- Jerry Nadler crushed Carolyn Maloney, despite her filthy negative campaign against him. He beat her 55.4% to 24.4%, with Suraj Patel at 19.2%. Maloney, a demented sore loser, who tried projecting her own senility onto Nadler during the campaign, is screeching about sexism today.

NY-22 (Syracuse)- Conservative crypto-billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried spent at least $260,000 on conservative Democrat Fran Conole, who edged out progressive Sarah Klee Hood, 10,644 (39.5%) to 9,562 (35.5%)

NY-23 is an open, rural western New York dumping ground for Republicans that went from a partisan lean of R+15 to a partisan lean of R+23. Buffalo billionaire Trump crony, Nazi and frequent candidate Carl Paladino tried buying the seat with a million and a half dollars of his own money but was thwarted by the state GOP chairman, Nick Langworthy, 24,275 (52.1%) to 22,283 (47.9%).

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