Republicans may have Gov. Kathy Hochul to thank in part if they retake a seat on the Hudson Valley battlefield previously held by Lt.
Dutchess County Republican executive Marc Molinaro leads 51.2% to 41.6% ahead of Democratic Attorney Josh Riley in the Nov. 8 general election for the 19th congressional district, with only about 7% of voters undecided, according to a new poll conducted for the pro-Molinaro Freedom Council USA.
The Democratic governor brought on former Congresswoman Delgado as her lieutenant governor in May after Brian Benjamin resigned as her No. 2 when he was indicted in a federal finance program dating back to his days as a senator.
The Molinaro-Riley race is now among a half-dozen New York competitions that appear competitive this year after the state’s highest court invalidated plans for a so-called “Hochulmander” card that the GOP only a few Super red seats.
Republicans only need to win five seats in the 435-seat House to win back the hammer, meaning the path to a GOP majority could be through the Empire State.
Other competitive races include GOP challenger and Houseman Mike Lawyer versus Democratic incumbent Sean Patrick Maloney, Chair of the House Dems Campaign Committee, in the 17th CD, taking place in Rockland County and the lower Hudson Valley.
Republicans are also targeting potential pickups from two Long Island districts, where incumbent Democratic Reps. Tom Suozzi — who lost a bid for the governorship — and Kathleen Rice are retiring, as well as CD 18 in the Hudson Valley upstate , while they defend a seat on Staten Island, represented by incumbent first-term GOP Nicole Malliotakis, and an open seat in the Syracuse-area.
Molinaro was the 2018 Republican nominee for governor, losing to then two-year Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo. Riley is an attorney who served on the Senate Judiciary Committee and worked with former Minnesota Senator Al Franken.
President Biden’s popularity is underwater in the county that runs from Sullivan County in the Hudson Valley to Broome County along the Southern Tier and the Pennsylvania border to Ithaca and Tompkins Counties in central New York.
Triton Polling and Research’s poll of 652 voters found that 42% had a positive impression of Biden and 53% had a negative impression, which could impact the race.
But in 2020, voters in the restored District backed Biden 52% to 48% over former President Donald Trump.
“While we don’t comment on polls, the difference is clear,” said Will Dawson, Molinaro’s campaign manager, adding the candidate “spent his life fighting for working-class families in New York while Josh Riley left us for Washington.” . and became a millionaire with a law firm defending Harvey Weinstein, Big Tech and other shady corporations.”
Riley’s campaign had no immediate comment.
Ex-GOP MP John Faso, who lost to Delgado in the 2018 blue wave midterm election, said it was a contested race but gave Molinaro the advantage. He said Molinaro agrees better with the district than Riley on paperback issues and border security.
“I think the race is hard fought and Marc will win,” said Faso.
However, State Democratic Party leader Jay Jacobs dismissed the poll by a partisan group as “untrustworthy.”
“It’s going to be a competitive race. But I’m not worried about polls being run by partisan groups for a particular candidate and leaked to the media at this stage of the game. It’s untrustworthy,” Jacobs said.
“Riley is a strong candidate. He’s a climber.”
Triton conducted polls ahead of the Aug. 23 special election to fill Delgado’s seat along old district lines that claimed Molinaro led Democrat Pat Ryan, then Ulster County executive. However, Ryan won in a nationally watched front-runner while focusing on abortion rights and gun control.
He is now running for Congress in the reshaped 18th House District, which includes his Ulster County stronghold, against Republican Rep. Colin Schmidt in place of the 19th CD against Molinaro.
Molinaro allies say Riley doesn’t have the fame or following that Ryan has. They also claim that a larger turnout in the general election compared to the low-turnout special contest will help Molinaro.
The poll polled 658 voters via automated phone calls Sept. 20-22 and has an error rate of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
https://nypost.com/2022/09/25/gops-molinaro-leads-dem-riley-in-hudson-valley-race-that-could-tip-house-control-poll/ GOP’s Molinaro leads Dem Riley in Hudson Valley race that could tip home control: poll