This November’s contest for the 19th congressional district, which includes Binghamton, Cortland and Ithaca, will likely see a rematch between Democrat Josh Riley and incumbent Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro.

Riley — who faces Dan Butterman, a local community leader, in the Democratic primary — previously ran in 2022, when Molinaro defeated him by two percentage points. After launching his second bid for Congress, Riley raised more than $2 million in the 2023 calendar year. Molinaro, who announced his re-election campaign on Jan. 12, raised nearly $2.2 million. Riley’s campaign does not accept money from any corporate political action committees (PACs), and the average contribution to his campaign is under $50.

Molinaro, who served as Dutchess County executive from 2012 to 2023 and a New York State assemblymember from 2007 to 2012, was also the Republican nominee for governor in 2018. He initially ran for Congress in the 18th district in an August 2022 special election, when he lost against Ulster County executive Pat Ryan, a Democrat. The district is subject to change again following the Court of Appeals ordering the bipartisan Independent Redistricting Committee (IRC) to restart the process only six months before the general election.

Molinaro’s platform seeks to incorporate mental and behavioral health care into primary care settings. He has also advocated for increased funding to modernize America’s energy grid and a streamlined process for energy project permits. To combat the local opioid epidemic, Molinaro has proposed creating a local opioid response grant and expanding access to life-saving treatments. In a digital advertisement, he detailed his priorities for a second term, including public safety and securing the southern border.

“We all want a community that is safe, prosperous and respectful of its people,” Molinaro said. “It’s about the middle ground where most of us live, working hard, putting food on our tables and making a difference for our families and kids.”

Molinaro’s previously passed legislation included securing $3 million to expand early childhood education in Broome and Chenango counties. He also introduced two bipartisan bills — one providing easier access to Narcan amid a spike in local overdose deaths and another ensuring Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) support during natural disasters for individuals with disabilities.

Riley, originally born in Broome County and a current Ithaca resident, previously served as a staff representative for former Rep. Maurice Hinchey’s office, a policy analyst at the U.S. Department of Labor and counsel on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. His major policy positions include ending partisan gerrymandering, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, fully funding public education, providing health care services to students and protecting women’s access to reproductive health care. He detailed the reasoning behind his second run for Congress, including providing stronger representation for upstate New Yorkers.

“I’m running for Congress because upstate New Yorkers deserve a representative who fights for them,” Riley wrote in an email. “Not the extremists and special interests — someone who will strengthen the middle class, protect social security, keep our communities safe and defend a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. That’s what I’m focusing on.”

Riley’s platform aims to increase health care access in rural communities and create jobs building American-made products to combat climate change. Riley also advocates for increased gun control, proposing stronger background checks and preventing individuals convicted of domestic abuse from purchasing firearms. With racial justice, Riley seeks to reduce recidivism by helping people find jobs and housing after paying their debts and sealing records for certain non-violent offenses.

Riley described the influence of Molinaro’s voting record, which he believes contradicts his claim that he is a moderate candidate.

“In 2022, Marc Molinaro didn’t have a voting record,” Riley wrote. “Now he does, and he has aligned himself with the most extreme elements of his party by voting to restrict abortion access for women, cut early childhood education for kids, cut heating assistance for seniors and cut apprenticeships for workers, all while giving huge tax cuts to billionaires and big corporations. He can’t pretend to be a ‘moderate’ when his voting record screams ‘extremist,’ no matter how stupid he thinks we are.”