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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Nov 19, 2022 3:00 am

Here is this week's WGXC Congressional Report, tracking the votes, statements, positions, and campaigns of the representatives and candidates for the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st Congressional seats in New York. Current Democrat Rep. Paul Tonko, from the 20th District, votes with the positions of President Joe Biden 100 percent of the time, according to the fivethirtyeight.com website. Republican Elise Stefanik, currently representing the 21st District, votes with Biden's positions 19.3 percent of the time. Democrat Pat Ryan just began representing the 19th District, and has yet to be included in the rankings. Ryan will represent the 18th Congressional District in January, when Republican Marc Molinaro takes over representing the 19th Congressional District. Click here to listen to this report.

Mark Weiner at Syracue.com reports that Republican Brandon Williams will win the 22nd Congressional District election in Central New York over Democrat Francis Conole. This is the last Congressional election to be called in New York, and means it is very likely that Republicans will control the House of Representatives when all the national election results are final. New York voters can partially take credit for turning over power to the Republicans with two Hudson Valley-based Congressional seats flipping from Democrats to Republicans. Democrat Josh Riley lost to Marc Molinaro in the 19th Congressional District, flipping a district previously represented by Democrat Antonio Delgado. And Sean Maloney, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair, lost to Republican Assemblyperson Mike Lawler in the 17th Congressional District. Republican Rep. John Katko retired from his 22nd District seat after voting to impeach former President Donald Trump and having little chance to win a primary election. New York's congressional delegation will now be 15 Democrats and 11 Republicans, the most seats the Republicans have held since 2001-2003. Read more about this story at Syracue.com reports.

Joshua Solomon reports in the Times Union that Rep. Elise Stefanik was reelected Nov. 15 by her Republican peers to keep serving as the party's conference chair. Stefanik retained her position as the fourth-ranking House member in the party by a 144-74 vote over Rep. Byron Donalds, a Florida Freedom Caucus member. Stefanik took over the position after many Republicans were angry at Liz Cheney for voting to impeach former President Donald Trump. He announced on Nov. 15 that he is running for president again, but Stefanik already endorsed him a week ago. Stefanik said she plans to "keep our message disciplined, unified and on offense every single day," as conference chair. Stefanik defeated moderate Democrat Matt Castelli by 18 points in this fall's election for her fifth term in New York's 21st Congressional District, which now includes Rensselaer County with much of the North Country. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

Joseph Spector at Politico tries to figure out why New York Democrats running for Congress did so poorly in this fall's elections. In the Hudson Valley alone, Democrats lost two elections, with Republican Marc Molinaro flipping Antonio Delgado's former seat by beating newcomer Josh Riley, and with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, also losing. The story does not say that Democrats in Congress were expected to do poorly, as the party controlling the White House usually suffers in non-presidential elections. But Democrats nationally did better than expected, largely because of Republican positions against abortion and democracy. So why did New York Congressional candidates do worse than other Democrats? Some blamed Gov. Kathy Hochul's short coattails. “The governor’s campaign, I think, was just abysmally run,” said state Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, a Rockland County Democrat who lost reelection even after outperforming Hochul by eight points in his district. Hochul disagreed. “Everybody can assess their own races and what went wrong for them, but we showed up,” she told reporters Nov. 16 in Yonkers. “I was everywhere, as was the state party.” Many Democrats blamed state Democratic Committee Chair Jay Jacobs for not organizing a better get-out-the-vote effort, and have called on him to resign. Hundreds of prominent Democrats have signed a letter calling on Jacobs to quit. “Jay Jacobs is not fit to serve as Chair of the State Democratic Party, and it’s time for Governor Hochul to work with the party to elect a focused, determined, unifying party leader,” the letter read. Hochul also disagrees with these officials. "I think he did a great job as chair, and he continues as chair. I am not changing anything,” Hochul said. Redistricting is also being blamed for the defeats of New York's Democrat Congressional candidates. First the Independent Redistricting Commission failed to draw new lines, kicking the process to the Democratic Legislature. Then the Democratic-appointed Court of Appeals tossed out the map Democrats in the legislature drew, leading to new lines being drawn by a Republican friendly court in rural Steuben County. “The lines that were created by the court master created the most competitive number of House districts in the country,” said former Republican Congressperson John Faso. That redistricting snafu also created a special election in August that may have confused voters. Read more about this story at Politico.