GHENT—Tuesday, August 23 is an Election Day in New York State. Columbia County has two contests on the ballot. There is a Special Election in the “Old” 19th CD (Congressional District) to choose a replacement to complete the term of former Congressman Antonio Delgado, who resigned his congressional seat and now serves as lt. governor of New York.
There is also a Democratic Party Primary for the “New” 19th CD. All registered voters are eligible to cast ballots in the Special Election but only registered Democrats are eligible to vote in the Primary.
(Regarding the 19th CD, the informal “old” and “new” designations refer to the district boundaries prior to and after statewide redistricting. The most significant local changes are removing Dutchess County from the 19th and extending the district west to include Broome and Tioga counties.)
Vying to replace Mr. Delgado in the Special Election are Marcus Molinaro, who will appear on the Republican and Conservative lines, and Pat Ryan, who will be on the Democratic and Working Families lines. The winner will serve the “Old” 19th until the end of December 2022 and likely will seek re-election in the November General Election in the “New” 18th CD, which includes Dutchess County.
Marcus Molinaro is the county executive of Dutchess County and was re-elected to a third term in 2019. He has spent his career in politics, winning his first election at the age of 18. According to his campaign website, marcforus.com. Mr. Molinaro’s political career began in 1994 in Tivoli, where he served as mayor and as a trustee on the Village Board. Molinaro, also, has served in the Duchess County Legislature and was elected to represent the 103rd Assembly District in Albany in 2006.
Pat Ryan, born and raised in Kingston, is the Ulster County executive. According to Mr. Ryan’s campaign website, patryanforcongress.com, he is a veteran and self-described Progressive. He attended West Point and served two combat tours of duty in Iraq in Army Intelligence. After leaving the military, he founded a small technology business, which grew to 150 employees. The company offered paid family leave and workforce training to veterans without college educations.
Although Mr. Ryan lost to Mr. Delgado in the 2018 Democratic Primary to challenge then Congressman John Faso (R), both men have endorsed each other in subsequent elections. Mr. Ryan backed Mr. Delgado against Mr. Faso in 2018; Mr. Delgado has endorsed Ryan in the upcoming Special Election.
Mr. Ryan lives in Gardiner with his wife and two rescue cats.
Both candidates, Jamie Cheney and Josh Riley, in the Democratic Primary for the “New” 19th CD are seeking office for the first time.
Jamie Cheney is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School. She is the mother of three and her family farms in the Hudson Valley. She is a gun owner, who advocates for gun reform, supports unions, women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights. Her campaign website is jamiecheney.com,
Josh Riley is an Endicott native with blue-collar roots. According to his website, joshrileyforcongress.com, Riley is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and Harvard Law School. Mr. Riley has used his legal expertise to advocate for vulnerable populations in Washington D.C. and Florida through policy analysis with the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Senate Labor & Pensions Committee and the American Academy of Pediatrics in South Florida. He, also, clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit in California, and served as General Counsel to then Senator Al Franken (Minnesota) on the Judiciary Committee.
Mr. Riley advocates a “Square Deal”for upstate workers, blaming Wall Street greed and political corruption for the economic demise of Upstate New York.
He lives in Ithaca with his wife and two-year-old son.
Early voting dates are August 13 – 21. The two polling sites are 401 State Street, Hudson and Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building in Valatie. Any registered Democratic Party voter, regardless of residence, may cast ballots at either site. Any voter registered in Columbia County can vote in the Special Election. More information is at the Columbia County Board of Election at 518 828-3115 or