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Audio Feature: Hudson Valley Congressional Report

May 08, 2022 11:00 pm

Here is this week's Hudson Valley Congressional Report from WGXC, tracking the votes, statements, positions, and campaigns of the representatives of the Hudson Valley in Congress and the candidates who want to replace them. Current Democrat Reps. Antonio Delgado, Paul Tonko, and Sean Maloney vote with the positions of President Joe Biden 100 percent of the time, according to the fivethirtyeight.com website. Republican Elise Stefanik voted with Biden's positions 18 percent of the time. Click here to listen to this report.

Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Nicholas Fandos report in the New York Times that Gov. Kathy Hochul picked Rep. Antonio Delgado as her new lieutenant governor. The choice is considered strange for two reasons: typically a governor/lieutenant governor ticket includes one candidate representing New York City's large population, and the choice makes it much more difficult for Democrats to hold onto Delgado's 19th Congressional District. Delgado, though, is not mired in controversy, an important consideration for the replacement of Brian Benjamin, who was indicted on federal bribery charges last month, leading to his resignation. Democrats voted May 2 in Albany to change state election law, allowing Benjamin to take his name off the ballot, and Delgado to put his name on the ballot. “Having won competitive primary and general elections for Congress, Representative Antonio Delgado is a battle-tested campaigner who has the experience to serve New Yorkers and the work ethic to get our party’s message out to voters, unite communities and lift up Democratic candidates statewide,” Hochul said. In the June primary election Delgado gets two Latina women opponents, Diana Reyna, a former New York City Council member, and Ana María Archila, a progressive activist. Which Democrats might run for Delgado's NY-19 district is unclear. So far, Gareth Rhodes, a former state official, who previously attempted to win the seat, has ruled out running for the seat now. The New York Times reports that according to two people familiar with his thinking, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan is seriously considering running for the now-open seat. Republican Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess County Executive who ran for governor in 2018, will run against whichever Democrat emerges for the seat. Read more about this story in the New York Times.

Gov. Kathy Hochul's decision announced May 3 to make Rep. Antonio Delgado lieutenant governor adds another vote to a summer of elections in New York, with all sorts of cascading effects across ballots. Delgado will take the state oath of office this month at a date to be determined. "The only question is the exact timing he will resign from Congress," Hochul said. "There is work to be finished before he assumes these responsibilities." The day before, former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, recently indicted on corruption charges, removed himself from the ballot after the Legislature passed a law to allow political nominees charged with a crime to vacate a party ticket. So now Delgado will appear on the ballot for the statewide primary election for lieutenant governor scheduled for June 28, as Hochul's running mate. Then, Spectrum reports, a special election for Delgado's 19th District seat must be set within ten days of the resignation and must be held within three months. Marc Molinaro, the Republican Dutchess County Executive who is already running for the seat, will likely be on the ballot then against an at-this-point unknown Democrat. “You left an open seat in Congress,” Assembly Member Maritza Davila of Brooklyn told City & State about Hochul's decision. “This is what we're trying to avoid.” She said she feels confident that the seat will return to Republican hands now. “She has to live with her own choices,” Davila added. Other Democrats were more optimistic about retaining the seat. “We have strong Democratic candidates, I’m sure, looking at that seat,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman of Manhattan told City & State. “I would expect a worthy successor in the Democratic nomination.” State Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs told City & State that the party has several potential candidates in mind for the seat, but declined to say who exactly. Two local politicians are floating their names so far. Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, who lost to Delgado in the Democratic primary in 2018, hinted at trying again in a May 3 Tweet. "After last night's devastating news, it’s clear that now more than ever we need champions in Congress who’ll protect fundamental rights and freedom and fight back against Washington extremism," Ryan wrote, referring to the news that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade. "So, stay tuned." Anonymous sources also claim state Sen. Michelle Hinchey, of Saugerties, may run for the seat. "She's assessing where she can best help our communities - whether that's in Albany or Washington," a source with knowledge of the senator's plans said. Hinchey, in her only election, turned the 46th Senate District in the Hudson Valley from Republican-control to Democrats in 2020. "Everything is on the table," the source added. Both could run, and because redistricting has been thrown out and maps are being withdrawn, the primary election for Congressional seats will now happen in August. And if a current office holder such as Ryan or Hinchey runs for the Democrats, they will need to find a replacement. Hinchey, right now, is running for re-election this fall against Republican Rich Amedure.

Kate Lisa is reporting for State of Politics state Sen. Michelle Hinchey announced on May 6 that she has chosen to seek re-election to a second term in the state Legislature's upper chamber, ending speculation that she would launch a congressional run. Hinchey, a Democrat from Saugerties, said earlier in the week she was thinking about seeking the Democratic nomination in the 19th Congressional District after Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the appointment of U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado as the state's lieutenant governor. Delgado, a Democrat from Rhinebeck, has held the seat since 2019 and will step down soon, with a special election for the seat, and then another in November. Hinchey announced her plan to seek re-election on Twitter. "I ran for office because that’s how I could best serve my community — to give upstate residents a real seat at the table," Hinchey said. "When scenarios change, reflection on where the work is best continued, where you make the biggest difference and what’s truly at stake is brought to the forefront. But, with the events of this week and the impending and detrimental Supreme Court decision to overturn a person’s right to choose, it’s never been more clear that state governments are where the work is most important. With our federal government in turmoil, states are now the active battlegrounds in our fight to protect our democracy and to ensure equitable and just policies that protect all of us," she wrote. Retired state trooper Republican Richard Amedure, of Rensselaerville, announced in March that he is running against Hinchey for a second time. He lost his bid for the seat in 2020. Hinchey did not endorse another Democrat for the congressional nomination. Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, a Democrat who lost the congressional nomination to Delgado in a 2018 primary, was the first person this week to announce that he is considering a run for the federal seat. On Twitter May 6, Ryan said he will make the decision to run for Congress soon, and supported Hinchey's Senate campaign. Also on May 6, City & State New York reporter Rebecca C. Lewis wrote on Twitter that a, "Source with knowledge says that Democratic leaders in NY-19 have lined up behind Ulster County Pat Ryan for the special election to replace soon-to-be Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado." Read the full story at nystateofpolitics [dot] com.

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