Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website: 

 New York will have two primaries this year. 

  • June 28 — the regularly scheduled primary for all offices except
  • August 23 – the delay for the Congressional primary and the primary for the State Senate. In both cases, this is a result of a law suit claiming unconstitutional gerrymandering.


June 15th, 2022      Political Note #473 Josh Riley New York 19

2022                          General Election

 Upstate New York.  Union Endicott High School

Washington, DC.     General Counsel to US Senator Al Franken

Miami, Florida          Boies, Schiller & Flexner law firm

Upstate New York; Washington, DC; Miami, Florida.  Geographically and, for Josh Riley’s career, these three places form a kind of straight line.  Not that Josh Riley’s career was a precise straight line.

Josh Riley grew up in Endicott, NY in a fifth generation Upstate New York family of mostly factory workers.  In 2022, he was determined that he was going to run for Congress Upstate.  The vagaries of New York’s redistricting and New York politics offered him the perfect district – NY19 which included Endicott, his childhood home, and Ithaca, where he had moved himself and his family in order to run for Congress. Josh Riley considered other Upstate possibilities that dissipated with redistricting.  New York 19, on the other hand, appeared in front of him like magic.  The sitting Congressman was appointed Lt. Governor of New York after the previous Lt Governor’s brief tenure ended due to scandal.

Real or manufactured scandals are not unusual in New York.  Earlier in 2022, when Josh Riley was one of several Democrats running in NY 22, a Democratic leader sympathetic to one of the other candidates went beyond challenging seven of the 4,000 signatures on behalf of Josh Riley collected to meet the 1,250 required.  The Democratic leader claimed fraud.  Josh Riley running in NY 19 had to collect 1,250 valid signatures, this time in NY 19.  The law suit remains as a reminder that politics, as they say, ain’t beanbag.

Josh Riley graduated from Union-Endicott High School 1999 and went south to college, to William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA.  He went right past Washington DC to Williamsburg which is a 3 hour drive or longer to the US capitol. Josh Riley went to Washington, anyway. After graduation, he joined the campaign staff of the Upstate Congressman Maurice Hinchey.  He worked briefly for Hinchey in Washington then worked for US Department of Labor on an unsuccessful effort to raise the minimum wage.

Josh Riley’s initial experience in Washington was followed by three years at Harvard Law School after which he settled (so to speak) in Miami.  He worked on a civil rights lawsuit to help low-income kids get access to health care and joined the politically connected law firm Boies. Schiller & Flexner’s (BSF) Florida office.  After a clerkship in the ninth circuit and a return to BSF, in 2011, he was appointed Senator Al Franken’s General Counsel.

In 2014, Josh Riley returned to Boies, Schiller & Flexner, but this time to their offices in Washington, DC.  He became a partner, remained for six years, then spent a year as a partner with the equally political law firm Jenner and Block.  In 2021, more interested in making policy than lobbying, Josh Riley returned to Upstate for his adventure in finding the right Congressional District to run in.

In his campaign website, Josh Riley describes his legal work with Senator Franken and his work as an attorney. He emphasizes support for survivors of domestic violence, funding to help those with addiction and mental illness, working to fix campaign finance laws, and improving access to benefits for veterans.  What stands out is Josh Riley’s bitterness about the destruction of the Upstate economy:

“Upstate New York’s economy was decimated as plants closed down and good manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas. …. [Every morning, it seemed] the newspaper ….  had headlines about Upstate New York’s job losses right next to headlines about Wall Street’s capital gains. Upstate New York was sold out by a culture of greed on Wall Street and a culture of corruption in Congress. Many of Josh’s friends, family, and neighbors lost their jobs.”

NY 19 has the slightest Republican Lean of R+1. And Josh Riley has a tough opponent in Marc Molinaro, a Republican former wunderkind who was elected a member of the Town of Tivoli’s Board of Trustees at the age of 18.  Molinaro was elected mayor of Tivoli five times before being he was elected to the New York Assembly and later as Duchess County Executive.

Molinaro did not win every election he ran in.  In 2018, he lost to Andrew Cuomo in a run for Governor.  In 2022, encouraged to run again for Governor, he opted for Congress.  His campaign website lists three policy goals for new York:  End the mental health crisis (which he does not tie to gun violence). End the opioid epidemic. Encourage the use of cryptocurrencies.

That last seems risky.  Kansas, for instance, which experienced such risky financial management under Republican governor Sam Brownback has become so cautious that it elected a Democratic governor and has banned cyber currency political contributions.  The electorate elsewhere is skeptical.  Carrick Flynn, a Democratic candidate for Oregon’s sixth Congressional district, received more than $12 million dollars of outside spending – almost all of it from a cyber currency supporter.  Flynn came in second in the primary.

There is no report cyber currency supporters spending on behalf of Malinaro.  That may be good for him.  The New York Times recently reported that a “crash in cryptocurrency prices ….”wiped away more than $300 billion“ in a week.  What Molinaro’s support for cryptocurrency means for his constituents is another story.

Get behind Josh Riley’s campaign.  With enough donations of regular US currency, Josh Riley can keep this open Democratic seat Democratic. He began the spring with $550,000, not far behind Molinaro’s $730,000.  Donate to Josh Riley and keep the House of Representatives Democratic.

Updated list of the very closest races for the General Election.  You won’t go wrong investing in these Democrats. – 10 incumbent Democrats, 3 Open Democratic Seats that are hard to keep (TX 15, NY 19, PA 17), and 3 Republican Seats that could be flipped (PA 01, AK AL, NYN 22). Defending every Incumbent and Open Democratic seats successfully is the core challenge for 2022. 

  1.  WA 08 EVEN Incumbent Democrat Kim Schrier (Political Note #390)
  2. PA 01 EVEN Retired Army Pilot Democrat Ashley Ehasz (Political Note #468) v Incumbent Republican Brian Fitzpatrick
  3. AK AL EVEN* Physician and commercial fisherman Al Gross (Political Note #462) v 47 open primary candidates and then the three other top voter getters (among them probably former Vice-Presidential candidate Sara Palin) of whom the winner will be selected by ranked voting.
  4. TX 15 EVEN Democrats Businesswoman Michelle Vallejo or Attorney Ruben Ramirez (Vallejo leading by 23 votes) v Insurance agent and businesswoman Republican Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez
  5. MD 06 R+1 Incumbent Democrat David Trone (Political Note #466) v (probably) State Delegate Neil Parrot
  6. MI 08 R+1 Incumbent Democrat Dan Kildee (Political Note #459) v one of three Republican candidates
  7. NH 01 R+1 Incumbent Democrat Chris Pappas (Political Note #429) v one of 8 Republicans
  8. MN 02 D+1 Incumbent Democrat Angie Craig (Political Note #355) v Retired Marine and 2020 candidate Tyler Kistner
  9. AZ 04 D+1 Incumbent Greg Stanton (Political Note #467) v one of six Republican candidates
  10. NY 19 R+1 Attorney Democrat Josh Riley v County Executive Republican Marc Molinaro
  11. PA 17 D+1 University Institute Director Chris Deluzio v ex Commissioner Jeremy Shaffer
  12. IA 03 R+2 Incumbent Democrat Cindy Axne (Political Note #428) v one of three Republican candidates
  13. VA 07 D+2 Incumbent Democrat Abigail Spanberger (Political Note #438) v one of eight Republican candidates
  14. NV 03 D+2 Incumbent Democrat Susie Lee (Political Note #356) v one of six Republican candidates
  15. NH 02 D+2 Incumbent Democrat Annie Kuster (Political Note #31) v one of two Republican candidates
  16. NY 22 D+2 Navy Veteran Francis Conole v one of three Republican candidates

*The EVEN designation for the Alaska race is based on the first poll for this race which found Al Gross tied with Sara Palin rather than the 538 website calculation used for all others listed)

Cautions while donating through Act Blue (most Democratic candidates use Act Blue for online donations)

  1. Take care to hit the donate button only once. If you hit it a second time, you could be charged for two donations instead of one.
  2. Take care to watch for an already clicked recurring donation. You can unclick it and donate only once if that is your intent.
  3. Watch for your receipt. If the receipt indicates a donation different from your intention, reply to Act Blue via the receipt right away.  They will fix your donation.  They want you to donate only what you intend to donate