2 New York Democrats unseat Republican incumbents in House

November 7, 2018
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Max Rose celebrates his win against Rep. Daniel Donovan for New York's District 11 Congressional seat at the Vanderbilt at South Beach on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in New York. (Alexandra Salmieri/Staten Island Advance via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — A pair of young, upstart Democratic challengers knocked off incumbent Republican congressmen in New York on Tuesday, both in battleground districts that have switched between parties in the past.

Antonio Delgado, a 41-year-old lawyer who’s been a Rhodes scholar and a hip-hop artist, defeated U.S. Rep. John Faso, 66, in a politically diverse Hudson Valley district that went for Barack Obama in 2012 and Donald Trump in 2016.

Max Rose, a 31-year-old Army veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan in 2013, beat New York City’s only Republican congressman, Dan Donovan, 62, in a district centered on Staten Island that was solid Trump Country in 2016.

Two more Republicans in upstate districts were in tight races too close to call as of early Wednesday

Republican Chris Collins, who is running in western New York while under an insider trading indictment, declared victory with a lead of around 3,000 votes, while his Democratic challenger Nate McMurray initially conceded defeat and then took it back.

And in the center of the state, Democrat Anthony Brindisi, a state assemblyman from Utica, held a lead of around 1,400 votes over Republican U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney, an early Trump supporter.

Even with those races up in the air, New York’s congressional delegation is set to move to the left, with at least 20 of its 27 seats held by Democrats.

Speaking to supporters in Kingston, Delgado told supporters his victory represents “a new day built upon our shared values: equality, integrity, accountability, service, faith and a whole lotta love.”

Delgado, who earned a Harvard law degree before joining an international law firm, won as a black candidate in a district that is 90 percent white and evenly split among Democrats, Republicans and independents.

“Way too much of our political climate is fueled by divisiveness, hatred and fear,” Delgado said. “It only serves to distract us from our shared struggle and deep inequities that impact so many people here at home and across this country.”

Faso told supporters he was proud of his time in Congress and that despite the current climate of polarization and division, “we have to recognize that America is great because the American people are good.”

Rose, running in a conservative-leaning district in New York City, zigged from other liberal candidates by not making the Trump leadership a central issue of his campaign.

“The story of this country has always been that no matter our differences, no matter the challenges in our way, we do what others said was impossible and they said this was impossible,” an enthusiastic Rose told supporters on Staten Island.

Donovan was Staten Island’s district attorney before being elected to Congress in 2015 in a special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, who pleaded guilty to tax fraud and served prison time.

“I don’t look at this as a sad occasion,” an emotional Donovan told his supporters. “I look at this as the end of something that I have enjoyed so much.”

Another Democrat, state assembly majority leader Joseph Morelle, defeated Republican doctor Jim Maxwell to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, keeping the seat in party hands. Slaughter, who died in March at age 88, had represented the Rochester area since 1987.

Republican incumbents John Katko and Elise Stefanik won contested re-election bids in upstate New York and Peter King fended off a challenge on Long Island to secure his 14th term.

Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, appeared set to become the youngest woman elected to Congress.

Both of the House races in New York considered too close to call by The Associated Press could come down to the counting of absentee and military ballots, which could take days.

Brindisi declared victory in his race but Tenney refused to concede, telling supporters “I’m never a quitter.”

Collins, 68, appeared confident he would be declared the victor in his race.

“I am re-elected, that’s all that matters,” he told reporters. McMurray, the town supervisor in Grand Island, New York, said he wanted a recount, something not specifically allowed for under New York law.

Collins has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he leaked inside information about a biopharmaceutical company, allowing his son and others to avoid nearly $800,000 in stock losses.

He dropped out of the race after his indictment, but made a surprise return to the campaign trail a month later. His trial isn’t expected until 2020. A conviction would likely lead to his resignation and a special election.

“I acknowledge there’s a black cloud,” he said late Tuesday, but he said it wouldn’t stand in the way of his legislative duties.

Collins’ spokeswoman Natalie Baldassarre criticized McMurray for refusing to give up.

“After tearfully conceding and recognizing his own defeat, Nate McMurray is once again dancing to the tune of the angry mob that just can’t accept the will of the voters,” she said.


Esch reported from Kingston, New York and Thompson reported from Buffalo, New York.


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