Marc Molinaro is leading the race for Antonio Delgado’s House seat

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s decision to nab Antonio Delgado as her assistant lieutenant governor could cost the Democrats a seat in the House of Representatives, according to a new poll.

Republican Marc Molinaro is the favorite to seize Democrat Delgado’s vacated congressional seat, according to the Triton Polling & Research for Freedom Council USA poll released Tuesday.

Molinaro, the current Dutchess County leader and 2018 GOP nominee for governor, leads 51.6% to 38.4% ahead of Ulster County Democratic leader Pat Ryan, according to the poll.

The automated telephone poll polled 505 voters June 16-20 and has an error rate of 4.4 percentage points.

Hochul was forced to replace her first pick for No. 2, Brian Benjamin, after he was indicted on federal corruption charges that were hinted at before she voted him.

The special election will be held on August 23 under the current guidelines for the 19th congressional district.

The current 19th CD covers much of the Hudson Valley, including Dutchess, Ulster and Columbia counties and parts of the Catskills.

But the victor must run for the 19th congressional district in the fall under revised court-ordered new district lines. Judges threw out the House cards previously drawn by Democrats as unconstitutional gerrymandering, which Republican critics dubbed “Hochulmander” because Gov. Kathy Hochul approved of them.

Marc Molinaro
According to a poll, Republican Marc Molinaro is leading the race for the vacated seat of Lt. gov. Antonio Delgado in the House of Representatives.
Marc Molinaro NY/Facebook

Still, Democrats face potential embarrassment if they lose the Delgado seat.

The race could also be a harbinger of what happens in the fall, as Democrats prepare to defend their narrow majority in the US House of Representatives — fueling the perception that Delgado will not face re-election over concerns he may not last aspired to the violet seat.

“We are not taking strategic advice from an election agency we’ve never heard of, funded by far-right Republicans and focused on choosing our opponent,” Ryan spokesman Chris Walsh said in a statement.

A representative from Triton Polling & Research could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

The poll showed that Molinaro had higher levels of awareness than Ryan, with more voters holding unfavorable and unfavorable opinions of him and fewer being undecided.

Ryan and Molinaro are both running in two elections this year.

The first is the special election for the remainder of Delgado’s term as they run for full terms in Congress in separate districts this November.

Molinaro is running for a newly drawn version of the 19th district, while Ryan is running against another Republican candidate for the newly drawn 18th district to the south.

Lt. Governor Antonio Delgado
Antonio Delgado was appointed lieutenant governor by Governor Kathy Hochul.
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Shutterstock

“My approach is to show up everywhere. We did. We will continue to do so. And in just a few short weeks we were everywhere,” Ryan told the Post on June 16.

But a Post review of recent campaign events suggests Molinaro has an advantage over Ryan when it comes to reaching voters in the current version of the far-flung 19th Precinct.

The Republican held at least 31 public events in his two races between May 23 and June 18, records show.

In contrast, Ryan appears to have attended at least 16 public events over the same period.

The majority of Ryan’s performances have taken place in the overlap areas between the current 19th ward and the future 18th ward in the Hudson Valley.

Molinaro has also stumbled for votes in voter-rich places like Rensselaer County, where records show Ryan has yet to make any official campaign appearances.

Ryan told the Post that his tenure as a local government official and his unsuccessful 2018 campaign against Delgado will help him reach areas of the district he hasn’t visited during the current campaign.

Kathy Hochul
Hochul appointed Delgado after former LG Brian Benjamin was indicted on federal corruption charges.
Robert Mueller

“My ties in this district are longstanding and deep, and if there’s a city I haven’t been to, I’ll certainly be reaching as many cities as possible – certainly every county – as the campaign goes in just a few weeks keep going,” Ryan said.

A New York Democratic Party insider suggested the West Point graduate could use his candidacy in the special election to raise funds to win a full term in the newly drawn 18th District.

“It’s the worst kept secret in New York that Pat Ryan is throwing the special election and turning the race over to Molinaro,” the source claimed.

But Ryan has told the Post he’s running to win elections in both counties.

“The fact that there are two different campaigns is just kind of a means to an end to fight for my community to fight for our country. And so I talked to everyone about it,” he said in an interview. Marc Molinaro is leading the race for Antonio Delgado’s House seat


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