On Friday, May 20, the Democratic County Chairs of New York’s 23rd Congressional District announced their nomination of Max Della Pia to represent the party in a special election for the district, which has included Tompkins County since 2012, after former representative Tom Reed resigned.
Reed previously announced that he would not seek re-election in March 2021 following claims of sexual misconduct, but on May 10, Reed shared he would be departing from office seven months early to work at Prime Policy Group, a government relations and public affairs firm based in Washington, D.C.
Della Pia has served in the military for over three decades acting as Senate Liaison Officer for the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Della Pia has also owned his own law practice and previously worked for Lockheed Martin. He currently serves on the Board of Directors at Racker, an Ithaca non-profit that supports people with disabilities, as well as the Tioga County Rural Ministry and the Owego Rotary in Tioga County.
In N.Y.–23, Della Pia already has an electoral history: he unsuccessfully ran for office in 2018 against Tracy Mitrano J.D. ’95 in the Democratic primary. Mitrano went on to lose to Reed in the 2018 and 2020 general elections.
“It’s an honor to be endorsed by all of the County Chairs and to be entrusted with the opportunity to meet this unique challenge,” Della Pia said.
Della Pia said that he plans to tackle a variety of concerns in the district including inflation, the lack of well-paying jobs and the increasing local costs of education and healthcare.
“I’m tired of the anti-family rhetoric coming from those in Washington who would rather go on talk shows to attack all the issues and people they’re against instead of telling us what they’re for,” said Della Pia. “We need elected officials who work for our families. I’ve spent my life in service of others; my tenure as a Congressman will be no different.”
Striking a more personal note, Della Pia also voiced support for LGBTQ+ rights and women’s abortion rights.
“They’re [Republicans are] trying to move us hundreds of years into history,” said Della Pia. “My daughter is a trans woman. Are they going to come and tell her who she can love and who she can be? I don’t think so, not if I have anything to say about it. … It comes down to, ‘elections have consequences,’ and the consequences we want are a future of expanded rights of privacy for all.”
However, policy and personality is not the only thing up for election in 2022. Tompkins County has been part of N.Y.–23 since 2012, but after a new district map was approved on Friday by Justice Patrick F. McAllister of State Supreme Court in Steuben County, the county is set to become part of N.Y.-19.
While Della Pia currently lives in Tioga County and his home would be part of the newly drawn N.Y.-19 district, he said that he would run for the 23rd district regardless of the redrawn map.
Della Pia will face the Republican nominee in the special election –– a nomination that is panning out through a crowded race.
There are currently seven candidates in the Republican primary with Congressman Chris Jacobs (N.Y.–27), business owner Marc Cenedella, Rich Moon, Hugh Bahar, George Burns, Raymond Juliano and George Phillips. Claudia Tenney (N.Y.–22) was also a contender in the primary, but announced on Saturday morning that she would drop out of the race.
The winner of the general election will represent N.Y.–23 for the rest of Reed’s unfinished term, until November. The district will remain a Republican-leaning district even after the redrawing.
In N.Y.–19, Brandon Buccola and Marcus Molinaro will face off in the Republican primary on Aug. 23.
The winner will then go on to face the Democratic nominee, who has not been selected yet, in the general election on Nov. 8. incumbent Antonio Delgado (N.Y.–19) has also announced his resignation to serve as lieutenant governor to Gov. Kathy Hochul (N.Y.–D).
Delgado has not set a departure date, but Hochul’s office said Delgado would leave office by the end of the month. If his departure is on May 25 or later, then the special election for his seat could be held to coincide with the August primary.
Molinaro is a strong contender for the Republican nomination, and says he is confident of winning, regardless of who he will face in the general election. This election could determine whether Democrats maintain power in the House or if Republicans will take over.
The winner of the general election will represent the newly drawn N.Y.–19 district, which will then include Tompkins County, and will remain a Democrat-leaning district.
Gov. Hochul has not announced a date for the N.Y.–23 special election. The deadline to set the date was on Friday, May 20, but a written resignation from Reed is required for the election to be officially announced. According to The Olean Times Herald, the Governor’s office is working to obtain the letter.
The date of the special election could be set between July 9 and Aug. 8.