In a political twist that could reshape the landscape of the 18th Congressional District in the Hudson Valley, retired NYPD officer Alison Esposito is emerging as a formidable contender against incumbent Democrat Rep. Pat Ryan, according to an internal GOP poll. The survey, conducted by the Congressional Leadership Fund, reveals a neck-and-neck race, with Esposito potentially flipping the battleground seat for Republicans.
Esposito, previously known as GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin's running mate in 2022, entered the congressional race last month, injecting fresh energy into the contest. The poll, conducted from August 1-3 with 400 likely general election voters, indicates a dead heat, with both Esposito and Ryan tied at 43%, leaving 13% of voters undecided.
The data paints a picture of a district ready for change, as 42% of registered voters express a desire for new leadership, while 36% support Ryan's re-election bid. A memo from CLC Vice President Brock McCleary and research coordinator Jack Coogan underscores the GOP-friendly political atmosphere and highlights perceived vulnerabilities in Ryan's standing with voters, suggesting a clear path to victory for Esposito in 2024.
Notably, the poll unveils a challenging landscape for President Biden, with only 43% of voters approving of his performance, while 52% disapprove. The 18th Congressional District, encompassing Orange County and parts of Dutchess and Ulster counties, seems less enamored with Democratic leadership, as reflected in the unpopularity of New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who garnered just a 41% favorable rating.
Esposito's bid receives a substantial boost from upstate Rep. Elise Stefanik, New York's influential House Republican, who is actively supporting her with a joint-fundraising committee and an endorsement. As the political stage takes shape, Esposito's campaign appears to harness dissatisfaction with current representation, presenting a compelling alternative in a district where change seems to be on the horizon.
"As a seasoned New York Police Officer with nearly twenty-five years of service, Alison Esposito exemplifies the courage to run towards crises in order to safeguard others, not away from them," stated Representative Elise Stefanik in an exclusive interview with The Post. "We need more leaders of her caliber in Washington. Alison stands out as the sole candidate in this race with a robust track record of prioritizing the safety and security of New Yorkers."
Stefanik, known for her unwavering support for fellow Republicans, expressed confidence in Esposito's ability to unseat incumbent Democrat Pat Ryan, describing him as a "failed far-left Democrat." Stefanik emphasized her endorsement of Esposito, declaring it the inaugural endorsement of E-PAC for the 2024 election cycle.
Esposito, appreciative of Stefanik and the House GOP's commitment to prioritizing her campaign, stated, "[Stefanik] has been a steadfast leader for New York and Republicans in Congress, and I look forward to working with her to increase our House Majority and bring commonsense American values back to the Hudson Valley."
In response to the endorsement, Stefanik emphasized the need for a commonsense approach in the 18th Congressional District, encouraging supporters to join her in bringing a wave of practical solutions to the region.
The incumbent, Pat Ryan, a former Ulster County executive and Army veteran with service in Iraq, narrowly secured the House seat in 2022, winning by fewer than 4,000 votes against former GOP Assemblyman Colin Schmitt. His campaign focused prominently on abortion rights, securing victory during a special election. However, the GOP's resurgence in New York, including victories in contested races, contributed to the party reclaiming the House majority.
The contrast between Esposito and Ryan is sharply drawn, with the GOP highlighting the dissatisfaction of New Yorkers with what they characterize as the Democrats' "disastrous one-party rule." According to CLF Communications Director Courtney Parella, Esposito brings the expertise needed to protect New York communities and address issues such as rising crime and a challenging migrant crisis.
In response, a spokesperson for Ryan dismissed the GOP poll findings, emphasizing the importance of electing representatives who transcend partisanship to effectively serve the needs of Hudson Valley families amidst the broader political landscape.
Amidst the intensifying political battleground, tensions escalate as a representative, responding to the latest poll from MAGA House Speaker Mike Johnson's Super PAC, fires shots at GOP candidate Alison Esposito. The statement criticizes Esposito for her alleged stance on gun violence, her support for a national abortion ban without exceptions for rape or incest, and alignment with what is described as "insurrectionist traitors" who sought to undermine democracy.
In a swift rebuttal, Esposito's campaign counters the claims, accusing Pat Ryan's camp of deliberate mischaracterization of her abortion stance. The campaign representative asserts, "Pat Ryan knows he's in trouble, which is why he's resorted to lying when he claims that Alison has called for a federal abortion ban. Alison has never advocated for a federal abortion ban. She has always been an advocate of providing more resources and options to women. Like most Americans, she believes in reasonable exceptions."
This exchange underscores the fierce nature of the race, with both sides strategically shaping narratives to gain an edge. As the campaign unfolds, the battle not only revolves around policy differences but also delves into accusations and counter-accusations, reflecting the high-stakes nature of the political contest in the 18th Congressional District.
As the political landscape in the 18th Congressional District continues to heat up, the contrasting narratives between GOP candidate Alison Esposito and incumbent Democrat Pat Ryan underscore the intensity of the race. The recent exchange of accusations and counter-accusations, triggered by a poll from MAGA House Speaker Mike Johnson's Super PAC, highlights the strategic maneuvers and attempts to shape public perception.
Esposito's campaign staunchly refutes claims regarding her positions on gun violence and abortion, accusing Ryan's camp of resorting to falsehoods in a bid to undermine her candidacy. The back-and-forth not only reveals the ferocity of the competition but also signals the significance of nuanced policy positions and public perception in this tightly contested race.
As voters navigate through these conflicting narratives, the concluding chapters of this political saga will likely be shaped by the candidates' abilities to articulate their positions, dispel misinformation, and resonate with the concerns of the constituents. The campaign's trajectory hints at a race where every statement, rebuttal, and clarification plays a crucial role in the broader battle for the hearts and minds of the electorate in the Hudson Valley. The coming months promise an intriguing and closely watched contest, where the candidates will strive to distinguish themselves amid the complexities of policy debates and political rhetoric.