(NEW YORK) — Democrats are projected to win a special House election in New York on Tuesday in a race seen as a potential bellwether for this year’s midterms, ABC News reports.
The contest between Democrat Pat Ryan and Republican Marc Molinaro in New York’s 19th Congressional District was sparked when Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado was appointed lieutenant governor.
Ryan and Molinaro, both of whom are local county executives, were running in the 19th as it existed prior to redistricting. But the seat being decided in Tuesday’s special election will cease to exist in January — and both candidates ran in primaries for separate seats on Tuesday as well.
The 19th has been among the swingiest in the country, with President Joe Biden carrying it by fewer than 2 points in 2020 and former President Donald Trump winning it by about 7 points in 2016.
With 99% of the expected vote being reported on Tuesday, Ryan was leading Molinaro 51-49.
The special election was seen as potentially indicative because of the messages tested by the two candidates — each trying to motivate their base and sway independents.
Molinaro focused on inflation, which remains at decades-long highs. Ryan, meanwhile, campaigned heavily on abortion access, saying it was a “freedom” issue after the Supreme Court this summer reversed Roe v. Wade.
Republicans continue to point to polls showing that the economy is among voters’ top concerns and that Biden gets poor approval ratings.
However, Democrats say that voters will be motivated by the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion and argue that the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, among other major legislative priorities, could blunt the electoral impact from headwinds like inflation.
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