Hochul could give House Dems a seat with Lt. Gov. replacement cost

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s election to Rep. Antonio Delgado to replace her indicted former lieutenant governor and lieutenant governor could cost the national Democrats a seat in their already razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives.

Delgado is a two-year congressman representing the 19th congressional district, which includes the Mid-Hudson Valley, Catskills and other parts of the upstate.

He replaces the former Lt. gov. Brian Benjamin, who resigned and was removed from the ballot after the FBI charged him with a pay-to-play corruption scheme. Benjamin protests his innocence.

Hochul’s main rival in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi, slammed the election as selfish and hurtful to the party’s difficult fight for a majority in the House of Representatives this fall — though Suozzi, too, dropped his plans for re-election politically Opportunities at the state level, leaves his seat in the game.

“Kathy Hochul and the leadership of the state’s Democratic Party are hypocrites because just a few months ago they publicly urged me to end my gubernatorial campaign and run for reelection for my seat in Congress lest I lose the Democratic majority in Congress endanger. ‘ Suozzi told the Post.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announces Representative Antonio Delgado as Lieutenant Governor of New York State during a news conference in the Red Room of the state Capitol Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Governor Kathy Hochul announced during a press conference on May 3, 2022 that Rep. Antonio Delgado will serve as Lieutenant Governor of New York.
Hans Penink

“Well, if it suits your political needs, is it okay for a congressman in a real swing district to give up his seat? Hochul and her cronies will do everything they can to protect their insider state party’s stronghold.”

Suozzi’s decision not to seek re-election gives Republicans a rare opportunity to flip a congressional district in New York without having to defeat an incumbent Democrat.

Candidates in the crowded Democratic primary set to replace him include left-wing Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx), Nassau County Legislature Joshua Lafazan, public relations executive Robert Zimmerman, and community organizer Melanie D’ Arrigo.

Lt.  gov.  Antonio Delgado stands in solidarity with lawmakers and advocates during a pro-abortion rally at the state Capitol on Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Lt. gov. Antonio Delgado stands in solidarity with lawmakers and advocates during a pro-abortion rights rally at the state Capitol on May 3, 2022.
Hans Penink

Democrats now hold 221 House seats versus 209 for Republicans, with five vacancies.

Meanwhile, Republicans are licking their chops — although it remains to be seen what the district will look like after the court-ordered redistricting.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro — the 2018 Republican gubernatorial nominee — has been running for the seat for months.

“We have organized a strong campaign with growing support across the district – wherever it may end up. I congratulate him on his election, but we wanted to win this race and by earning every vote we will win this race,” Molinaro told The Post.

Former New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin exits a federal court hearing Monday, April.  18th, 2022
Former New York Lt. gov. Brian Benjamin resigned amid corruption scandal.
AP Photo/Kevin Hagen, file

Former GOP Congressman John Faso, a key adviser to the plaintiffs in the Gerrymandering case, who struck down the congressional cards drawn by Democrats as unconstitutional, said, “Republican Marc Molinaro will be the favorite to win this seat.”

Delgado’s 19th congressional district has been hotly contested in recent years. In 2018 he edged out Faso by a 5% margin. In the 2020 general election, he fended off Republican challenger Kyle Van De Water, beating him by a more comfortable 12%.

According to data from the State Board of Elections, as of February 2022, the district is 37% registered Democrat and 28% Republican. In 2020, President Biden beat former President Donald Trump by less than 1% in the district, although his borders could shift significantly as a result of the ongoing relocation process.

Sen. Michelle Hinchey, D-Kingston, debates proposed budgets during a legislative session in the Senate chamber of the state Capitol on Friday, April 8, 2022
State Senator Michelle Hinchey debates proposed budgets during a legislative session in the Senate chamber at the state Capitol on Friday, April 8, 2022.
AP Photo/Hans Pennink

Democratic Party insiders said Hochul’s picking of Delgado boded badly for House Democrats.

“Between the appeals court ruling and the governor’s decision to appoint Antonio Delgado, it’s been a tough week for Nancy Pelosi in New York,” said one Democratic politician, referring to the House Speaker and the so-called “Hochulmander.” State Congress maps struck down by the state’s highest court.

The Democrat-aligned Working Families Party said Hochul’s election was a head-scratcher.

Jay Jacobs Chairman of the Nassau County Democrats
Jay Jacobs said the Dems would keep Delgado’s seat with a new candidate.
John Roka

“We are deeply concerned about the implications of the Lieutenant Governor’s election for the US House of Representatives, particularly in light of the anticipated Roe v. Wade verdict. This decision seems short-sighted at a time when we must do everything in our power to retain a majority in the House of Representatives and hold back an increasingly ruthless and draconian Republican Party,” said WFP Director Sochie Nnaemeka.

But Democratic Party leader Jay Jacobs insisted the Dems would keep the Delgado seat with a new candidate.

When asked if Delgado was selected for LG because the party feared he would lose re-election, Jacobs said, “No, no. Absolutely not. I’m sure he would have won easily.”

New York State Gubernatorial Candidate and Congressman Tom Suozzi
Tom Suozzi criticized the selection as selfish and hurtful.
REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

He said there would be an announcement soon to select a replacement for Delgado.

Ulster County Executive Director Pat Ryan, a Democrat who ran against Delgado in the 2018 Democratic primary, said he was considering running for the seat Delgado is vacating.

State Senator Michelle Hinchey is also “seriously considering” running a bid for the congressional seat, according to published reports. Her late father, Maurice Hinchey, was a congressman until 2013.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, declined to comment.

Markus Molinaro
Marcus Molinaro has been running for the seat for months.
Douglas Healey

Asked at a news conference if Delgado’s seat could potentially be handed over to a Republican, Hochul replied vaguely, “We will continue to work very hard to secure a majority in the House of Representatives.”

Delgado said, “For me, it was a decision to go.”

Hochul said no decision has yet been made on whether or when a special election will be held for Delgado’s seat, other than that Delgado will be sworn in later this month.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/04/hochul-could-cost-house-dems-a-seat-with-lt-gov-replacement/ Hochul could give House Dems a seat with Lt. Gov. replacement cost

JACLYN DIAZ

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