Democratic Win in NY House District Shows Abortion Rights’ Power

A win in a Hudson Valley House seat that many see as a bellwether raises problems for Republicans expecting a “red wave” this autumn and gives new optimism to Democrats ahead of a difficult midterm election in 2022.

Tuesday’s special election was closely contested, but NBC News projects that Democrat Pat Ryan will defeat Republican Marc Molinaro and become the district’s next representative.

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The results demonstrate the efficacy of Democratic messaging on abortion: Ryan had made the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade a central issue in his campaign to energize his party’s followers. He used his military background to argue that safeguarding reproductive rights was an essential component of defending American freedom.
Molinaro’s Republican Party countered that this election is a vote on President Joe Biden, inflation, and crime. Republicans have long considered the “one-party dominance” by Democrats in Washington as a winning message, and Molinaro ran on the platform of countering that. Molinaro asked voters to show up and “send a message to Washington” on Tuesday morning.

The effort fell short.

This Hudson Valley district has been a reliable barometer of national sentiment for years: it supported Joe Biden in 2020 by a margin of only two points after having previously backed Donald Trump and Barack Obama. Before the 2018 wave election, the district in question was held by the Republican Party.

The Democratic Party would not have fared well in this district in the last two midterm elections, in 2010 and 2014. Despite the strong winds, Ryan was victorious.