Democrat Pat Ryan has won a special election for an open congressional seat north of New York City that has been called a national bellwether ahead of the November midterms.
“Choice was on the ballot. Freedom was on the ballot, and tonight choice and freedom won. We voted like our democracy was on the line because it is. We upended everything we thought we knew about politics and did it together,” Ryan tweeted early Wednesday after the Associated Press called the race.
With 100% of the vote counted, unofficial results from the New York state Board of Elections showed Ryan leading Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro 51.1% to 48.8%.
Polls had shown Molinaro, a Republican, with a narrow lead over Ryan, the Ulster County executive, in the final weeks of the campaign to replace former Rep. Antonio Delgado, who resigned after becoming lieutenant governor last spring.
While Molinaro ran a campaign emphasizing rising prices and crime, Ryan argued he would better fit the district because of his support for abortion rights and gun control following a pair controversial decisions by the Supreme Court earlier this year.
“[The win] represents a clear rejection of Republican extremism that threatens public safety, democracy, and the rights of women to make their own health care decisions,” state Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs said in a statement.
Ryan will fill the seat until the end of the year. In a curious twist, he also won the Democratic primary to face GOP Assemblyman Colin Schmitt this November in the newly drawn Congressional District 18.
Molinaro is running for a full term this November in the redrawn District 19. He will face Democrat Josh Riley.