Potential special election for Congressional seat burdens boards of elections

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POUGHKEEPSIE – Governor Hochul named Democratic Congressman Antonio Delgado (NY-19) as the next New York State Lieutenant Governor on Tuesday.  Depending on when Delgado resigns from Congress, there may be a special election to fill his seat in Washington.

Congressman Delgado at breakfast in Poughkeepsie. Mid-Hudson News file photo.

If Delgado resigns from Congress before July 1, Hochul has 10 days from the date of resignation to call for a special election, which would be held 90 days later.  If Delgado resigns anytime after July 1st, there will be no special election, leaving the residents of the Congressional district without representation in Washington until a new Representative is elected in November and sworn into office on January 1, 2023.

Congressman Delgado, until his appointment to Albany, was being challenged for his seat in the US House of Representatives by Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, a Republican.  Molinaro is continuing to campaign for the seat.

The current date for the Congressional primary election is August 23rd.  Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan and State Senator Michelle Hinchey, Democrats, have both been mentioned as potential candidates to replace Delgado. If there is a primary, the winner would potentially square off against Molinaro in the general election.

The maps for the new Congressional districts created by state lawmakers have been thrown out and the court-ordered replacement maps have not been submitted yet. If the district lines change, Molinaro may no longer be a resident of the new district.

Dutchess County Republican Elections Commissioner Eric Haight said that if Hochul calls for a special election for the seat to be held on the same day as the primary, “It will pose significant challenges and some insurmountable hurdles for the County Boards from both human resources and technological standpoints.”  Explaining the issue, Haight added, “The various systems we utilize simply can’t administer two distinct elections on the same day on the old set of lines and the impending new lines simultaneously.”

Commissioner Haight noted that the cost to taxpayers in Dutchess County for the special election is approximately $200,000.

The current NY-19 district includes all of Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties.  It also encompasses portions of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery, and Rensselaer counties.