Republican candidate for New York Governor Marc Molinaro experiences a subway station and a ride on the 1 train downtown in NYC, NY, on November 5, 2018.

NEWS: Marc Molinaro leads Pat Ryan in NY congressional race: poll

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The House of Representatives minority could soon become the majority — and Republicans may have to thank Gov. Kathy Hochul for at least a small measure of that success.

Hochul’s selection of ex-upstate Rep. Antonio Delgado as her replacement lieutenant governor will likely cost the Democrats a House seat in the Aug. 23 special election, a new poll released Tuesday claims.

Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro leads Democrat Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan for Delgado’s vacated 19th congressional district seat 49.5% to 39.7% with about 11% undecided,  according to the Triton Polling & Research survey conducted for Freedom Council USA.

A survey released six weeks ago for the same independent, right-leaning GOP firm, Freedom Council USA, also had Molinaro leading Ryan among likely voters 51.6% to 38.4%

Freedom Council USA has endorsed Molinaro, who was the 2018 GOP candidate for governor.

The latest survey queried 407 likely voters from July 26-28 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.85 percentage points.

GOP candidate Marc Molinaro leads in his New York congressional race against Democrat Pat Ryan, according to a poll.
James Messerschmidt

“We expect Marc Molinaro to be the kind of congressman New Yorkers need in Washington,” a spokesman for Freedom Council USA said.

But the encouraging poll was conducted prior to new controversies about Molinaro’s vehicle use.

The Republican candidate is reportedly campaigning with the help of a Jeep Grand Cherokee leased by supporter Sean Mahone, which has not been listed in required reports to the Federal Elections Commission, Hudson Valley 360 reported this week.

Molinaro has also faced criticism in recent days over his efforts as county executive to lease a luxury 2021 black Chevrolet Tahoe for $1,347.10 per month, according to a previous report by the local news outlet.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and GOP candidate for NY's 19 congressional race holds a microphone as he speaks to a crowd.
Molinaro could replace former House member Antonio Delgado, who is now the lieutenant governor in New York.
Marc Molinaro/ Facebook

“Marc Molinaro’s flagrant misuse of taxpayers’ hard-earned money for his own personal gain is a betrayal of the trust given to him by voters,” Ryan said in a press release.

Molinaro did not immediately return a call for comment.

A victory against Ryan in the special election would be a sign of the collateral costs of political events outside the Hudson Valley.

Hochul needed to replace her first choice for No. 2, Brian Benjamin, after he was indicted on federal corruption charges that followed media reports of alleged ethics problems that predated her appointment of him as LG.

The botched vetting on Benjamin’s appointment is considered one of Hochul’s biggest stumbles since replacing Andrew Cuomo, who resigned as governor a year ago under the threat of impeachment in a sexual harassment scandal.

The special election will be held on Aug. 23 under current lines for the 19th congressional district.

The current 19th CD takes in much of the Hudson Valley including Dutchess, Ulster and Columbia counties and parts of the Catskills.

But the victor will have to run under revised court-ordered redistricting lines for the 19th congressional district in the general election this fall.

Judges tossed out the previously Democratic-drawn House maps as unconstitutional gerrymandering, which Republican critics called the “Hochulmander” because Gov. Hochul approved them.

Republicans are on track to win a clear majority of 230 seats in the House of Representatives this November, according to the CBS News Battleground Tracker model released Sunday.

The net gain of 19 seats for Republicans would be far higher than the seven additional seats the GOP needs to secure a 218-seat majority. The model has an error margin of 12 seats, which even on the low end would leave Republicans with that majority. 

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