As the midterm election comes to a close, Binghamton University’s congressional district has flipped red.
Marcus Molinaro (R) has won the election for New York’s 19th Congressional District, defeating Josh Riley (D) by 6,244 votes. The seat had been left vacant after then-congressman Antonio Delgado (D) was tapped up as New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul’s lieutenant governor.
NY-19 now joins a series of congressional districts in which Republicans have picked up U.S. House seats, with three others flipped across the state.
Molinaro thanked his supporters on Twitter — having won a district where 36 percent of registered voters are Democrats and 32 percent are Republicans.
“Thank you to the people of #NY19,” Molinaro wrote. “To all my supporters and to all those who volunteered. We were outspent, but not outworked.”
BU was previously a part of NY-22, once represented by U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney. Following the recent redistricting process, the University joined the newly drawn NY-19 — at the time under Delgado — which includes parts of Broome County.
On Wednesday, Riley conceded defeat as he called for unity rather than division.
“I’ve called [Marcus] Molinaro to congratulate him on his hard-fought victory, to wish him all the best in Congress and to thank his family for the sacrifices they’ve made in the spirit of public service,” Riley wrote in a statement. “I appreciate [Molinaro’s] stated commitment to opposing a national abortion ban, improving funding for mental health services and creating good jobs in Upstate New York.”
Molinaro’s stated policies include working to improve social support programs, specifically in mental health and the opioid epidemic. Regarding abortion, Molinaro maintains a pro-life stance, but opposes a total ban on abortion without exceptions.
Local elections saw a different outcome. New York State Senate District 52, led by Fred Akshar (R) for seven years, will now see Lea Webb (D) at its helm. Webb had run against former Binghamton Mayor Rich David (R), winning by just over 1,000 votes.
Chance Fiorisi, president of BU’s College Democrats and a sophomore majoring in political science, said he felt the election cycle was largely positive for the Democratic party.
“Locally we were successful in that [the] majority of our candidates were elected and re-elected — we are disappointed that our local congressional candidate, Josh Riley, lost to [Marcus] Molinaro, but we are optimistic that the seat will flip blue in a general election year,” Fiorisi said. “Internally we were pretty shocked that the supposed ‘red wave’ was more of a red drip, but I think that nationally the American people have decided that enough was enough.”
Webb, who served two terms on Binghamton’s City Council, also works as a diversity education coordinator at BU’s division of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Akshar had left his seat to run for Broome County Sheriff, which he won by nearly 26 percent on Tuesday, defeating Kate Newcomb (D). The seat had formerly been held by David Harder, who did not seek reelection this year.
Logan Blakeslee, vice president of the BU College Republicans and a senior majoring in history, said members of the College Republicans were “heavily active” in New York state’s congressional races.
“Many of us were on the ground for [Marcus] Molinaro, who achieved a razor-thin victory in a district that leans blue,” Blakeslee said. “We are proud of this work, and the work we did for Lee Zeldin. We are energized and ready to move forward to the next challenge.”
Hochul, who had been appointed as the state’s governor following the abrupt resignation of Andrew Cuomo, also won her election — though narrowly, defeating Zeldin by just 5 percent. The election had been the closest for New York state governor in two decades.