Primary roundup: NY primary results could spell trouble for GOP; Crist wins bid to take on DeSantis this fall

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


Democrat Pat Ryan narrowly defeated Republican Marcus Molinaro in a special election to represent New York’s 19th Congressional District in a race considered to be a preview of the November midterms. Ryan positioned himself as a pro-abortion advocate, and his victory is being viewed as a referendum on the Supreme Court’s June ruling ending federal abortion rights. 

Molinaro focused his campaign on familiar conservative talking points including record-high inflation and soaring crime.

“Single-party rule has led to abuses and corruption in government, it has led to reckless spending and a lack of accountability,” Molinaro said in a recent Newsmax interview.

Ryan will occupy the seat formerly held by Antonio Delgado, the Democrat who left his post to become New York’s lieutenant governor this summer. The remainder of Delgado’s term is up in 2023.

Ryan, an Army veteran, said during a campaign rally in Woodstock that he hopes to “send another message as the national spotlight starts to shift” to Democrats, according to a New York Post report.

Due to redistricting, in addition to Tuesday’s special election to finish out Delgado’s term, both Molinaro and Ryan are also on the primary ballot for the general election.

Ryan also won the Democratic nomination for a full term representing the state’s new 18th District to replace outgoing Rep. Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.). 

Molinaro’s loss in the swing district, which Biden carried by less than two points in the 2020 presidential election, could spell trouble for the GOP this fall. A July poll had Molinaro up by 10 points, but the lead shrunk to just 3% this month, coinciding with a small spike in President Biden’s approval rating as soaring gas prices began to cool and following significant legislative wins for the administration with the passage of the climate spending bill and the CHIPS legislation to boost domestic semiconductor production.

Democrats are expected to lose control of the U.S. House of Representatives in a Nov. 8 election, but where Republicans and Democrats alike suggested that the GOP would sweep the Senate as well, forecasters are now suggesting that those odds have been lowered. 

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently lowered expectations of a “red tsunami” in November, giving Republicans only a 50-50 chance of taking back control of that chamber.

Crist, DeSantis to square off in what will be one of the most closely-watched elections in November

Rep. Charlie Crist won the Democratic primary in a bid to reclaim his former job as Florida’s governor, setting up a high-stakes contest in the fall against incumbent Republican Ron DeSantis.

Many have pegged this race to be one of the most closely watched races of the midterms, as Democrats are eager to try to knock off the most recognizable Republican governor in the country. Crist, who decided to forgo a fourth term in Congress to run for his old office, is considered to be an underdog in the race with DeSantis, a rising star in the Republican party whose public feud with Disney and feisty exchanges with liberal reporters catapulted him to the national spotlight.

DeSantis is largely viewed as a primary GOP contender in the 2024 presidential election, though he maintains that he is focused on seeking a second term as governor of the Sunshine State. DeSantis is seen by many as an alternative to former President Donald Trump, who has all but formally announced a bid to seek a second term in office.

DeSantis narrowly led Trump in a hypothetical 2024 presidential match-up by two percentage points in a June University of New Hampshire poll, though speculative polling has been inconsistent based on which portion of the GOP base is being polled.

Talk of a possible DeSantis 2024 run was further fueled by the June release of an attack ad against the Florida governor paid for by California governor Gavin Newsom in a surprising move that hinted at Newsom’s own aspirations to occupy the White House.

DeSantis ad focuses on battle with media

A Top-Gun: Maverick-inspired ad released by DeSantis in his first gubernatorial reelection TV spot racked up more than 150,000 views within hours of its release Tuesday.

DeSantis, who is a former U.S. Navy JAG officer and Bronze Star recipient, appears in the ad wearing a leather bomber jacket with patches representing the state of Florida in a nod to the patriotic blockbuster movie. 

Speaking from a hangar as though he is instructing a team of Navy pilots, DeSantis tasks them with “dogfighting, taking on the corporate media,” referring to a close-range aerial battle between fighter aircraft pilots.

The rules of engagement, he says, are, “Number 1: Don’t fire unless fired upon but when they fire, you fire back with overwhelming force; Number 2: Never, ever back down from a fight; Number 3: Don’t accept their narrative.”

The ad also features “thank you” letters from Floridians thanking the governor for fighting back against “the woke liberal media” and bucking the Biden administration’s COVID-19 mandates. In one such missive, a mother writes that “monoclonal antibodies saved my mother’s life.” Other excerpts include a business owner who credits DeSantis’ policies with helping the company survive the pandemic and an 11-year-old who writes, “I’m glad I could stay in school.”

DeSantis, a former congressman who was narrowly elected governor in 2018, has become a formidable fundraiser in his bid for re-election, raking in over $125 million this cycle – a haul nearly 10 times the amount raised by Crist.

Nadler defeats Maloney

Representative defeated his long-time colleague Carolyn Maloney in a highly publicized race.

As reported by FISM yesterday, the race featured Democrat infighting as the state’s redistricting — one that came after New York Democrats were found to have violated anti-gerrymandering laws — resulted in the two tenured legislators facing each other for the 12th Congressional District.

The new map combined the Upper West side and Upper East side districts of Manhattan, which are long-held Democratic strongholds. In his victory speech, Nadler thanked Maloney “for her decades of service to our city.”