As Election Day nears, early voting is underway across New York. October has brought record-breaking turnout nationwide as voters flock to the polls for this historic election.. Still thinking about who to vote for? Want to know the races to watch this election season? Here’s the Misc Voter Guide on four key local, state and congressional races.
NY-19 Congressional District
Republican Kyle Van De Water is challenging freshman incumbent Rep. Antonio Delgado. Delgado defeated Republican incumbent John Faso in 2018, becoming the first Democrat to represent the district since 2010. Since being elected to Congress, Delgado has introduced the Medicare-X Choice Act, which would create opt-in public health insurance. Delgado currently serves on the House Committees on Small Business, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Agriculture.
Delgado was raised in Schenectady, New York, and went on to become a Rhodes Scholar and attend Harvard Law School. After law school, Delgado worked in the music industry and as an attorney at New York law firm Akin Gump. Delgado has focused his campaign for reelection on protecting affordable health care, passing a second stimulus package and supporting farmers.
Van De Water is an Army veteran and works as an attorney at Corbally, Gartland & Rappleyea, LLP in Poughkeepsie. He has focused his campaign on simplifying the tax code, protecting gun rights and supporting American manufacturing. Van De Water has also stated that he supports encouraging development in high-unemployment areas through the creation of tax cuts in “opportunity zones.”
In 2018, Delgado won the district with only 51.4 percent of the vote, but in 2020, the race is looking less competitive. The race is considered ‘likely Democratic’ by Cook Political Report and FiveThirtyEight.
— Carolyn Patterson
Dutchess County Court Judge
Republican incumbent Peter Forman is challenged by Democractic newcomer Jessica Segal. Forman, now seeking a second 10-year term, is a 20-year judicial veteran in Dutchess County. He’s served in four local courts: Family, Supreme, Surrogate and County. He’s also presided over the county’s drug courts for 15 years. The Drug Court program diverts non-violent offenders struggling with substance abuse away from incarceration and into treatment and monitoring programs. If elected, the 65-year-old would serve five years, as state law requires county court judges to retire at 70.
Segal has 20 years of experience as a prosecutor, civil litigator and defense attorney. The former Dutchess Senior Assistant District Attorney spent 17 years with the DA’s office. She’s now a criminal defense lawyer at a private firm. Segal also teaches criminal law and procedure at Dutchess Community College and is a part-time Assistant DA in Putnam County. If elected, the 47-year-old would be the second woman to hold the position in Dutchess history.
More than 200 of Forman’s judicial rulings have been reviewed by appellate courts, of which 93 percent were affirmed. He’s had roughly five cases overturned between 2014 and 2020 for error or misconduct.
Forman has been endorsed by Republican County Executive Marc Molinaro, City of Poughkeepsie Councilmember Yvonne Flowers and several police associations. Both candidates have been rated “Highly Qualified” by the Dutchess County Bar Association.
— Tiana Headley
State Senate District 41
Three-term Republican State Senator Sue Serino is once again facing a steep challenge from Democratic businesswoman Karen Smythe in the increasingly competitive 41st District. During her six years in Albany, Serino has emerged as a centrist leader on education reform and sexual violence prevention. On fiscal issues, Serino has consistently voiced her insistence on small government. Since Democrats took control of the Senate, she has made her criticism of Democratic leadership in Albany—specifically, the state’s coronavirus response—a central part of her campaign.
Smythe previously worked as a marketing executive and spent 16 years running her family’s union construction business, C.B. Strain & Son., in Poughkeepsie. She has leveraged her know-how of small business leadership as an asset, especially as the Hudson Valley works to rebuild a regional economy that was decimated by the pandemic. Smythe has focused her campaign on reproductive rights, racial justice, and climate equity and has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, EMILY’s List, The Sierra Club and Hudson Valley Stonewall Democrats.
Two years ago, in Smythe’s first-ever campaign, she came only 0.6 points away from unseating Serino, drawing statewide attention to the district, which has long been a GOP stronghold. Serino has committed to serving no more than four two-year terms, meaning that if she keeps her seat, this would likely be her final term in the Senate.
— Alex Wilson
NY-18 Congressional District
Incumbent Democrat Rep. Sean Maloney is facing a challenge this year from Republican Chele Farley. Maloney, who would be entering his fifth term if re-elected, is the first openly gay member of Congress from New York. Before entering Congress, he worked as a lawyer, political staffer and senior advisor under the Clinton presidential administration. He also founded a tech start up and served as an advisor under former New York Governor David Paterson.
While in office, Maloney has prioritized national security, the opioid crisis, environmental protections for clean water and veterans’ benefits. He sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Agriculture Committee. He is also the co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.
Farley is an investment banker and philanthropist. She is running on a platform of lowering taxes, passing more stringent immigration laws, improving environmental conservation and economic growth, and ending the “toxic culture” of Washington. She ran for Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand in 2018, but lost by a 34 percentage point margin.
Rep. Maloney is predicted to come out on top in this election. According to the Cook Political Report, the race is “likely Democrat.”
— Lucille Brewster