April 15, 2024
Joe Sempolinski won the special election for New York’s 23rd Congressional District, allowing him to finish out the term of Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) term after the incumbent vacated the seat in May.

Joe Sempolinski won the special election for New York’s 23rd Congressional District, allowing him to finish out the term of Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) term after the incumbent vacated the seat in May.

The race for the seat that encompasses much of the Southern Tier of upstate New York opened in early May when Reed resigned to become a lobbyist for a local public relations firm.

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Sempolinski, the Steuben County Republican chairman, previously worked as Reed’s campaign manager and district director, touting that experience as evidence that “there’s no one who knows the old version of the 23rd better than I do” in an interview with Capital Tonight. 

“Therefore, I can get the constituent service side of things up and running faster, better, and more efficiently than anybody else could,” he said.

The 23rd Congressional District has long been reliably Republican in an otherwise blue state, and Sempolinski has used that to his advantage throughout his campaign. Congress will be in session during his short-lived term that will last until Dec. 31, meaning Sempolinski’s vote will be especially important, he argued.

Sempolinski will hold the seat for just over four months before being replaced by the victor of the general election. His challenger in the special election, Max Della Pia, will again appear on the November ballot as the Democratic nominee.

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New York’s congressional primaries garnered nationwide attention after a judge in May ordered a delay to the election due to redistricting battles. Democrats sought to hold the primary in June as initially planned and use their proposed congressional map that would’ve helped the party pick up three additional seats in the House.

However, the New York Court of Appeals ruled on April 27 that the proposed congressional map, as well as the state Senate map, violated anti-gerrymandering laws and had to be redrawn before the state could hold its primary elections. The state released its final map drawn by a special master in late May, obliterating Democratic gains and positioning several incumbents on a collision course with each other.

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