Who's running in NY's 23rd District primary, special election? What to know

·4 min read

Between new district borders and the resignation of longtime representative Tom Reed, the 23rd Congressional District is set for a makeover.

Many Southern Tier voters will decide two Congressional races on Aug. 23 — a special election to represent the 23rd District for the remainder of the year, and a primary election to determine who appears on the ballot in November for a full two-year term.

Reed was a fixture of Southern Tier politics for the last dozen years. After a tight 2012 race decided by less than three points, the Corning Republican cruised in the next four elections by nine points or more. Reed resigned in May to take a position in the private sector, changing the landscape of the district heading into the midterms.

Here’s everything you need to know before going to the polls in the 23rd District.

Who can vote in the NY-23 special election?

The special election will take place in the current 23rd District, which includes all of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tompkins and Yates counties, plus parts of Ontario and Tioga counties. Every registered voter in the district is eligible to vote in the special election.

Who can vote in the NY-23 primary?

The Republican primary campaign is based in the new 23rd District, post redistricting. The 23rd’s new borders include Allegany, Steuben, Chemung, Schuyler, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties, plus a large part of Erie County. Registered Republicans in the new district are eligible to vote in the primary.

The special election and primary races will appear on two separate ballots for voters eligible to vote in each respective campaign.

Who is running in the NY-23 special election?

Candidates in the Aug. 23 special election to complete Reed’s term were selected by party chairs in the 23rd District. Republicans tapped Joe Sempolinski, a former Reed staffer who led the district office. Sempolinski also chairs the Steuben County Republican Committee.

Joe Sempolinski
Joe Sempolinski

A graduate of Corning-Painted Post West High School, Sempolinski now resides in the Steuben County village of Canisteo with his wife and two daughters. Sempolinski will appear on the Republican and Conservative party lines. Sempolinski is running solely in the special election and will not appear in the Republican primary for a full two-year term.

NY-23 Democrats also selected a committee chairman to run in the special election. Max Della Pia, chairman of the Tioga County Democratic Committee, will appear on the Democratic ticket. Della Pia is a retired Air Force colonel who narrowly lost the 2018 Democratic primary in the district.

Della Pia will appear on the Democratic and Working Families party lines. Della Pia, who resides in Tioga County, is also running for the full two-year term in November.

The victor of the special election will represent the 23rd District for a little over four months, through the end of the year. Della Pia and Sempolinski have not held elected office outside of their positions as committee chairs.

Who is running in the NY-23 primary?

The Republican primary field is dominated by candidates with ties to Erie County. An early front-runner, current 27th District Rep. Chris Jacobs, dropped out of the race in June after losing Republican endorsements for supporting new gun control measures.

Carl Paladino
Carl Paladino

Jacobs’ exit opened the door for a two-way race between Carl Paladino and Nick Langworthy, two fixtures of Republican politics in New York. Paladino is a Buffalo real estate developer who was the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate in 2010, losing to Andrew Cuomo. Paladino poured $1.5 million into his own campaign, according to data filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Langworthy is the state GOP chairman. He also has roots in Erie County and previously served as the county’s Republican chairman. Langworthy ended the second quarter with around $304,000 in cash on hand entering the stretch run before the Aug. 23 primary.

Incoming New York Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy; May 21, 2019.
Incoming New York Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy; May 21, 2019.

The victor of the primary will appear on the Republican ticket in November’s midterm election. The newly-structured district is projected to remain in the Republican camp. The Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index gives it a ranking of R+12.

Where is my polling location?

You can look up where you are registered to vote, and which polling place you can attend, at Voterlookup.elections.ny.gov.

When are polls open?

Polls are open statewide from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Early voting will be held Aug. 13-21. Check your local board of elections for early voting sites.

Can I still register to vote Aug. 23?

The deadline has passed to register to vote for the August races. Registrations by mail had to be postmarked no later than July 29 for someone to vote Aug. 23.

There is still time to register for the Nov. 8 general election, however. Registrations by mail must be postmarked no later than Oct. 29 to vote in the general election.

To register to vote in New York for upcoming elections, go to Elections.ny.gov.

This article originally appeared on New York State Team: NY23: What to know about Aug. 23 special election, Republican primary