Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado’s seat in Congress will now be an open race after he was tapped on Tuesday to become New York’s next lieutenant governor.
And the district, seen each year as a competitive bellwether for both parties, could again be the site of a battleground race that could determine which party controls the House of Representatives.
Delgado this year was set to face Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro in November in an election year that is expected to favor the GOP given current polling as well as the historical trend for parties in power.
Delgado had flipped the seat in 2018, unseating Republican Rep. John Faso, in what proved to be a wave year for Democrats. The district, which includes the Hudson Valley, Catskills and parts immediately south of Albany, had long been eyed by Democrats as a district to turn blue.
But the House district will likely look different later this year when a court-appointed special master submits new congressional lines on May 20 after the Democratic-drawn boundaries were rejected by a state court (Democrats are mounting a last-ditch effort to keep the lines in place in federal court).
The Democratic-drawn lines were set to include parts of Albany County, Utica and Binghamton, a widening of the district that would have drawn in more Democratic voters.
Republicans and their allies were practically giddy on Tuesday at the news of Delgado’s selection.
“House Democrats would be wise to follow Delgado’s lead and start looking for new work now,” said Cally Perkins of the Congressioal Leadership Fund, a Republican-allied group. “With mass layoffs coming soon for House Democrats, they’d be foolish to stick around and wait to get fired.”
Candidates to replace Delgado as the Democratic nominee could include Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, who suggested in a post on Twitter he is weighing a bid.
“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 leaked draft of a ruling that would overturn Roe v. Wade at the U.S. Supreme Court. “So, stay tuned.”