By Tim Martinson
Photo: left to right: Josh Riley (D) and Marc Molinaro (R)
Read this article and more in our 2022 election edition, on campus now!
With the upcoming elections in November for many political offices, it would help to know more about the various candidates in the races that Binghamton University students can vote for locally. For the federal elections to the U.S. House of Representatives, the newly drawn district maps place Binghamton University and the surrounding areas into the 19th congressional district of New York (“Elected Officials” 2022). The main candidates for this congressional race in November will be Republican Marc Molinaro, current Dutchess County executive, and Democrat Josh Riley, an attorney and a former congressional staffer. Molinaro previously ran in a special election for the 19th district on August 23, 2022 under the old district maps, which was caused by the incumbent Congressman Antonio Delgado (D) resigning to become Lieutenant Governor of New York. He narrowly lost with 48.8% of the vote to the Democratic candidate Pat Ryan, who received 51.1% of the vote (de Paredes 2022). Instead of running for the new version of the 19th district in the general election like Molinaro, Ryan is running in the 18th district. As a result, the new 19th district has no incumbent congressman running for re-election (Camera 2022a).
Previously, Molinaro had run for New York governor in the 2018 election, losing to then-incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo. Once Antonio Delgado had announced his resignation to become Lieutenant Governor, this particular House race became one of the more closely watched races for the November elections (Camera 2022b). Pat Ryan’s victory in the special election came as a surprise to many, with Molinaro being seen as the favorite in the race. Following the recent United States Supreme Court decision that repealed the right to an abortion, however, the midterm trend of the political party in power doing poorly (see article on page 4) has not been entirely the case in the other congressional special elections, with Democratic candidates overperforming the expected outcomes, such as winning in the special election in Alaska (see article on page 8).
In an interview with Happy Medium, Democratic candidate Josh Riley emphasized his support for the codification of the original Roe v. Wade decision, stating that he would co-sponsor the Women’s Health Protection Act. In its current form as introduced in the 117th Congress, this legislation would prohibit “governmental restrictions on the provision of, and access to, abortion services” (H.R. 3755).
Riley also highlighted his support for campaign finance reform, reiterating his refusal to accept money from corporate political action committees, or PACs. He also stated his support for a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC, which overruled earlier decisions that had allowed “prohibitions on independent expenditures by corporations” and bans on corporations “making electioneering communications” (“Citizens United”).
Riley stated that the biggest challenge facing the new 19th congressional district of New York is that “for a generation, this region has been overlooked and left behind by our politics and our economy.” When asked about how he would address the issue of inflation, Riley gave a twofold answer. In the long term, he would like to see manufacturing jobs returned to the United States and upstate New York, in particular emphasizing the manufacturing of semiconductors and electronics. Riley denounced rising costs as a consequence of policies from “professional politicians and the special interests” to ship manufacturing jobs overseas. He also cited a new lithium battery project coming out of Binghamton University; the “New Energy New York Project” was awarded over $63 million in a grant from the federal government, which “aims to turn the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions into the nation’s premier hub for lithium battery research, manufacturing and workforce development” (Potter 2022). In the short term, however, Riley gave his support for tax cuts for the middle class and allowing Medicare to cover hearing, dental, and vision for the elderly.
The campaign for the Republican candidate, Marc Molinaro, did not respond when reached out to for an interview, so the following information on his platform comes directly from his campaign website. On the topic of inflation, Molinaro’s policy platform indicates his support for “indexing the portions of the federal individual tax code not currently adjusted for inflation” and “working outside the tax code to increase the supply of critical goods… to reduce costs” (“Reducing Inflation” 2022). His platform also describes plans to lower property taxes, such as “limiting the ability of States to shift Medicaid expenses to local property taxpayers” and “restoring the full SALT deduction” (“Reducing Inflation” 2022). Additional plans include creating a commission to provide recommendations for a balanced budget in 10 years, “simplifying the tax code,” and “empowering those with low income” (“Reducing Inflation” 2022). Other key issues listed on Molinaro’s campaign website include addressing the opioid epidemic, mental health crises, and the energy crisis, as well as supporting U.S.-Israel relations, resources for veterans, services for seniors, and investment in and adoption of “cryptocurrency and the digital asset space” (“Marc’s Vision” 2022).
Absent on Molinaro’s campaign website is the issue of abortion and reproductive health. However, according to WSKG, at a town hall in Endicott, Molinaro opposed most abortions after about seventeen weeks, stating that he does not want “government in the specific decision-making that women will have to make… But I also want to be respectful of the fact, at some point there ought to be some limitation, except in the case of life of the mother, rape and incest” (Golden 2022). Additionally, according to a PIX11 article, Molinaro has stated that he opposes a national abortion ban. The article describes that Molinaro “says he supports a woman’s right to chose [sic] with ‘thoughtful limitations’ on late term
abortions” (Rosoff 2022).
Molinaro’s campaign website also describes the “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative, launched in 2015, “which seeks to change the way individuals, businesses, organizations, and communities relate to our neighbors of all abilities,” particularly those with “intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities” (“Encouraging America” 2022). Molinaro’s plan includes “funding for Crisis Intervention Training and Mental Health First Aid,” greater enforcement of laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act for those with special needs, and creating a “federal onboarding platform” for greater accessibility to federal programs (“Encouraging America” 2022).
If the results for the special election in August are any indication, the election for the 19th congressional district will end up being a very close one. This race between Josh Riley and Marc Molinaro is one such example of how Binghamton University students will have the opportunity to have their voices heard in the state legislature and Congress this November.
Tim Martinson is a political science major from Merrick, New York, on Long Island. Tim has volunteered for several political campaigns in the past, such as his state senator’s re-election campaign in 2018. He is currently a board member of the Binghamton College Democrats and was previously a public affairs show host at WHRW. Tim was an intern political journalist at Happy Medium in Summer 2022. Tim has an interest in political history and likes to play video games and learn new things in his free time.
Camera, John. 2022a. “Molinaro pivots campaign to new NY-19 from old NY-19.” Spectrum News 1, August 25. spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/capital-region/news/2022/08/25/molinaro-shifts-attention-from-old-ny-19-to-new-ny-19.
Camera, John. 2022b. “Molinaro is confident as Democrats eye candidates to oppose him in 19th district.” Spectrum News 1, May 3. spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/hudson-valley/politics/2022/05/03/marc-molinaro-reaction-antonio-delgado-lieutenant-governor.
“Citizens United v. FEC.” Federal Elections Commission. www.fec.gov/legal-resources/court-cases/citizens-united-v-fec/.
de Paredes, Juan Garcia. 2022. “Democrat Josh Riley and Republican Marc Molinaro are running New York’s 19th Congressional District.” Ballotpedia, October 4. news.ballotpedia.org/2022/10/04/democrat-josh-riley-and-republican-marc-molinaro-are-running-in-new-yorks-19th-congressional-district/.
“Elected Officials & District Map.” 2022. New York State Board of Elections. www.elections.ny.gov/district-map.html\.
“Encouraging America to ThinkDIFFERENTLY.” 2022. Marc For Us. www.marcforus.com/_files/ugd/821665_822432395c444392b6137335e6ff1047.pdf.
Golden, Vaugh. 2022. “Molinaro discusses abortion, guns at Endicott town hall.” WSKG, September 1. wskg.org/molinaro-discusses-abortion-guns-at-endicott-town-hall/.
“Marc’s Vision.” 2022. Marc For Us. www.marcforus.com/policy.
Potter, Chris. 2022. “Big day for Broome County: Binghamton University awarded $63.7M in Build Back Better funds.” Binghamton Sun & Press-Bulletin, September 2. www.pressconnects.com/story/money/2022/09/02/binghamton-university-build-back-better-ppp-funds-lithium-ion-battery/65466752007/.
“Reducing Inflation and Our Cost of Living.” 2022. Marc For Us. www.marcforus.com/_files/ugd/821665_0f5b253f8a0842278da5ea0229d30043.pdf.
Rosoff, Henry. 2022. “NY-19 congressional race a tossup; what result could mean for House.” PIX11, October 9. pix11.com/news/politics/pixonpolitics/ny-19-congressional-race-a-tossup-what-result-could-mean-for-house/.
Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021, H.R. 3755, 117th Cong. (2021).