A tight race in upstate New York has resulted in a groundbreaking victory for Democrats.
Antonio Delgado defeated Republican incumbent John Faso in the race for New York’s 19th District, flipping the district. Delgado, a prominent attorney, is the first Latinx and biracial major party candidate — and now U.S. Representative — for the seat.
Delgado ran a progressive campaign, calling for education reform, equal pay for women, bringing jobs to the district, and environmental protections to combat climate change. Above all, his top priority has been healthcare, specifically an opt-in option for universal affordable healthcare and support for women’s right to choose. Healthcare was the top voting issue in the district, with the majority of constituents (29%) citing it as the most important factor in determining their vote, according to a Monmouth University poll.
Faso — a self-proclaimed moderate who first won the seat in 2016 — couldn’t have been further from his challenger when it comes to healthcare. He’s faced sharp criticism for his role in pushing to“repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.
Overall, healthcare truly shaped this nationally-covered race, driving headlines and most of the narrative. But it’s just one example of the district’s tendency to reflect the current political mood in the country. It went blue for Barack Obama twice and red for Donald Trump in 2016.
Another significant factor in Delgado’s victory was his personal story and mission to enact policies that would make upward mobility possible for others, just like it was for him. After growing up working class in Schenectady, New York, Delgado attended the nearby Colgate University. From there he went on to attend Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and later Harvard Law School. He then rose to become an attorney at the prominent DC-based law firm Akin Gump.
The race for the seat — which has been Republican-controlled since 2011 — was brutal from the beginning. Both candidates favored negative attack ads over ones that explained their stances on the issues.
Delgado’s win marks one seat gained for the Democrats. To flip the Senate would require winning 28 of the 35 seats up for election, but taking control of the House is within reach. Only 25 seats need to go blue, and 24 currently held by Republicans are areas that voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.