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Image: Kathy Hochul, Pat Ryan
Democratic candidate Pat Ryan, right, and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, during a campaign rally for Ryan, in Kingston, N.Y., on Aug. 22, 2022.Mary Altaffer / AP

Pat Ryan says Dobbs decision helped him win N.Y. House race

"We won because this was a referendum on freedom," the Democrat who prevailed in a bellwether election on Tuesday.


After eking out a special election victory in New York’s 19th Congressional District, Congressman-elect Pat Ryan says he could feel the ground shifting ahead of his Tuesday night victory due in part to recent Supreme Court decisions, particularly the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

"We won because this was a referendum on freedom," Ryan told Meet the Press Now, “I think that momentum is certainly going to build and carry forward.”

Ryan says growing threats to democracy paired with economic hardships played a role in his victory.

“It really was a combination," he said, of democratic "guardrails" being followed by "seismic Supreme Court decisions 24 hours apart on guns and ripping away Roe and then the January 6 hearings," Ryan said.

The contest in this competitive district was seen as a bellwether race for the midterm election cycle, and Ryan's victory buoyed Democrats because it suggested that the overall headwinds they had faced for most of the year have calmed, at the least.

“We talked about both the rising costs and the economic pressure people are feeling and the direct attacks on freedom and democracy," Ryan said, "People want and need both.”

Ryan also said that the voters in his district are sick of the nation's divisions. 

“I think what people really want to see is some leadership, someone just willing to say, 'here’s what I believe,'" Ryan said, "We’re at a moment of real test for our country, and to just stand with some conviction. I think that’s how you win people over they may not agree with you on everything, but they can agree that you have real conviction. And that’s a lot of what we did in this campaign."

Ryan will replace former Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado who was appointed lieutenant governor of New York in May.