Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has defeated Democrat Josh Riley in the race for New York’s 19th Congressional District, the Associated Press projects, returning the Hudson Valley and Southern Tier seat to Republican hands after four years.
With 95% of the expected vote reporting, the Dutchess County executive leads 51% to Riley's 49%, a vote difference of 6,185 votes.
"Tonight, the voters of Upstate sent a message that they demand a government that works for them," Molinaro said in a statement. "They just want to feed their families, heat their homes, and feel safe in their communities. I'm honored to have earned the trust of more than 100,000 voters, and I will work everyday to be a worthy member of Congress for both those who did, and did not vote for me. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I'm ready to hit the ground running."
It’s a comeback for Molinaro, who ran in a special election back in August for the former 19th District and lost to Democrat Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan. With Ryan running in the new 18th District, Molinaro faced Riley in the new 19th, which stretches from Poughkeepsie the Massachusetts border west to include the cities of Binghamton and Ithaca. It is part of a trifecta of competitive House races this year across the Hudson Valley.
Molinaro was a young mayor, county legislator, a state assemblyman and was first elected county executive in 2011. He was also the Republican nominee for governor in 2018. He now adds another title to his political career — congressman-elect — and will be sworn into the 118th Congress on Jan. 3, 2023.
Riley, born in Broome County, served as a staff assistant for former Rep. Maurice Hinchey’s office, as a policy analyst at the U.S. Department of Labor and counsel on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
"This has been a long campaign with many twists and turns and obstacles to overcome. So it's no surprise we find ourselves on Election Night without a declared winner,” Riley said in a statement early Wednesday. “Our campaign will do what we've done every time we've faced a challenge — we'll take it head on. Our understanding from conversations with Board of Election officials is that we're down, but we're not out. We understand that there are an unknown number of absentee ballots to be counted and affidavit ballots to be processed. We want to be sure every voice is heard, and we are going to do that."
The 19th District is part of a trifecta of competitive House races this year across the Hudson Valley.