You know all about the Team Blue civil war already if you read this morning’s post so I won’t rehash it here. It’ll be great fun for righties to watch from afar, but none of the Democratic primaries playing out in New York tonight are of any real consequence.
The race of real consequence is the special election in New York’s 19th District between Democrat Pat Ryan and Republican Marc Molinaro. On paper, no one should care much about the outcome since the winner will serve just four months representing the district. Ryan is actually running in a *different* district in the November election, a quirk of the state’s messy redistricting process this year. It doesn’t matter who wins this evening — in the abstract.
But as a clue as to how the two parties might fare in the battle for the House this fall, it’s one of the biggest elections of the year.
That’s because NY-19 is a true swing district, having gone for Trump by two points in 2016 before tilting to Biden by two points in 2020. As such, political junkies have been touting today’s special election as a key bellwether for weeks. To further sweeten the pot, each candidate is running hard on his party’s core midterm message. For Ryan, that means championing abortion rights; for Molinaro, it means decrying inflation. The irresistible political force of pro-choicers angry at the end of Roe will meet the immovable object of working-class voters angry that everything now costs 10 percent more than it used to, and that collision will take place in a true 50/50 district.
High drama. If either party beats expectations considerably, there’ll be a broad freakout in political media tomorrow. Should Ryan win comfortably, bold predictions will be made that the red wave is canceled. Should Molinaro win comfortably, bold predictions will be made that the “Roe effect” is mostly hype. In all likelihood we’ll see a narrow victory for one or the other that allows partisans on both sides to put an optimistic spin on the outcome. NBC says it’s seen an internal Democratic poll that has the Republican Molinaro ahead by three, but that’s within the margin of error. The race is a true toss-up.
Expect Dems to spin their defeat as sui generis if they do go on to lose, a function of the strange fact that Ryan is competing in a different district this fall. Molinaro has been shrewd in highlighting that fact during the campaign too. “With all due respect to Pat, on Aug. 24, he’s going to begin campaigning in Orange and Putnam and southern Dutchess County. This county needs a representative on Aug. 24, Sullivan County needs a representative on Aug. 24,” he said recently. “There is no person alive who thinks on Aug. 24, he would be able to serve this district while running in an entirely different one.”
Polls close at 9 p.m. ET. You can follow results live via the widgets below. The Ryan/Molinaro race in NY-19 is featured in the top widget while the bottom one will have the returns in all of New York’s Democratic primaries, which you can access by using the “Change Race” dropdown menu in the widget’s upper-left corner. NY-10 is the Dan Goldman/Mondaire Jones showdown; NY-12 is the King Kong vs. Godzilla battle between Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney; and NY-17 is where DCCC chair Sean Patrick Maloney will try to hold off lefty insurgent Alessandra Biaggi. Prediction: Pain.