TIME TO VOTE: Early voting begins in NY congressional primary

NY-12 Congressional debate
WNYC Senior Politics Reporter Brigid Bergin, foreground left, and NY1 Politics Anchor Errol Louis moderate as Rep. Carolyn Maloney, background left, Rep. Jerry Nadler, center and attorney Suraj Patel debate during New York’s 12th Congressional District Democratic primary debate hosted by Spectrum News NY1 and WNYC at the CUNY Graduate Center, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, Pool)

Early voting began Saturday in New York’s congressional party primaries, which will set the final field for a slew of competitive contests in the general election this autumn.

In New York City, the most closely watched race in the Democratic primary features a battle between two heavyweight incumbents who were forced to run against each other when a judge redrew the boundaries of the state’s congressional districts.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney face each other, plus newcomer Suraj Patel, a Democrat who has run for the office twice before.

There’s also the wide-open 10th Congressional District primary, where no fewer than 13 Democrats are on the ballot seeking to represent much of Lower Manhattan and north/central Brooklyn. The front-runners in that race include City Council Member Carlina Rivera, Trump impeachment attorney Dan Goldman, former Congress Member Liz Holtzman, current upstate Congress Member Mondaire Jones and Assembly Members Yuh-Line Niou and Jo Anne Simon.

Meanwhile, voters in two parts of the state are also picking new members of Congress in special elections to replace U.S. House members who resigned.

Some of the hottest contests will be an early test of where the Democratic and Republican parties are headed in the midterm elections.

In a special election in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills, Ulster County Executive Patrick Ryan, a Democrat, has campaigned on a promise to protect abortion access while Republican Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, has focused on inflation, gas prices and crime.

Both want to fill the seat formerly held by Antonio Delgado, the Democrat who resigned to become New York’s lieutenant governor this summer.

In counties along the Pennsylvania border in western New York, Democrat Max Della Pia faces Republican Joseph Sempolinski in a contest to serve out the remainder of the term of former U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican who resigned this summer.

And in western New York, the chairman of the state Republican Party, Nick Langworthy, is in a bruising primary fight with Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, who was once the party’s candidate for governor but has a record of making outrageous comments and telling or passing along racist jokes.

A limited number of polling places will be open for early voting through Aug. 21. There’s then a one-day pause before the full array of polling locations open for the final day of the primary on Aug. 23.

With reporting by Robert Pozarycki