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Josh Riley

New York 19


Cook: Toss-up
Sabato: Toss-up


to the FM House Slate
to  Josh's Campaign

“After law school, I had offers to work on Wall Street, I chose a different path to work for low-income kids who needed access to health care. Wall Street doesn’t need another vote in Congress. But working families do.” (Twitter)


“Politicians rise to power by tearing people apart and tearing them down. Politics has become a game of who can scream the loudest and score cheap points. That’s not how we do things in Upstate New York. It’s time for a change.” (Website)


“Women’s health care decisions are women’s health care decisions not the government’s” (Website)


“Grassroots support for this campaign shows that people want change – restoring women’s reproductive freedom, getting corporate money out of politics, and strengthening the Middle Class – and that’s what we’re going to deliver”. (S. Dorn, firstread, 8/26/22)




Josh Riley was born and raised in a working-class neighborhood of Endicott, New York. With student loans, savings from his newspaper route, and part-time work, Riley graduated with high honors from the College of William & Mary and Harvard Law School. At his law school graduation, then-Dean Elena Kagan presented Riley with the Dean’s Award for Community Leadership in recognition of his record in public service.

Riley started in public service as a Staff Assistant in Congressman Maurice Hinchey’s office. He subsequently had a fellowship on Senator Ted Kennedy’s Labor & Pensions Committee staff where he worked on legislation to raise the minimum wage and fought back against big corporations that had tried to weaken the Family & Medical Leave Act. Riley served as a Policy Analyst at the Department of Labor where he focused on strengthening safety nets–like the unemployment insurance and trade adjustment assistance programs–for communities that lost jobs through no fault of their own. After Hurricane Katrina, Riley volunteered in a legal aid clinic in New Orleans assisting workers who lost their jobs due to the storm.

After graduating law school, Riley moved to south Florida to work with the American Academy of Pediatrics on a landmark civil rights lawsuit representing kids from low-income families having difficulty accessing healthcare. The Public Interest Law Center presented Riley and his team with the Thaddeus Stevens Award in recognition of their work on that case.

Riley served as law clerk for Judge Kim Wardlaw on the Court of Appeals for the California Ninth Circuit where he handled complex constitutional cases. As an attorney in the Senate, Riley worked to restore the Voting Rights Act after it was gutted by the Supreme Court.

As an attorney in private legal practice, Riley has filed briefs in the Supreme Court arguing for stronger campaign finance laws and healthcare for all. He filed briefs in the lower courts arguing for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and improved access to benefits for veterans. He also supported legal challenges opposing the Trump administration’s discriminatory immigration policies and filed Supreme Court arguments supporting Dreamers and opposing the Muslim ban. Riley has been recognized nationally for his legal practice, including as one of the nation’s three “Rising Stars” for technology and innovation in 2020. He was named in 2018 and 2019 to 40–under-40 lists for attorneys in Washington, D.C.


Riley and his wife Monica live in Ithaca with their two-year-old son.

(Adapted from Campaign Website)



Riley’s campaign website details 12 issues that define his priorities. These include:

• Defend and strengthen our democracy

• Revitalize, innovate, and strengthen the economy to bring everyone up and bring everyone along

• Relief from high and rising prices for working families

• Treat rural America as our heartland and stop taking it for granted.

• Bold action to deal with existential threats to our environment

• Seniors have earned the right to retire with dignity.

• Health care should be a civil right for all Americans.

• Women’s health decisions are women’s health decisions, not the government’s.

• Every child deserves the opportunity to meet his or her full potential and no child deserves to live in poverty.

• Keep our communities safe from crime and gun violence.

• We must bend the arc of history toward justice for marginalized communities.

•We must fight for those who fight for us.



In November Riley will face Marcus Molinaro who was recently defeated by Democrat Pat Ryan in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Antonio Delgado after he was named NY Lieutenant Governor.


Molinaro is completing his third term as Dutchess County Executive having served since 2011. He previously served in the County Legislature and in the New York State Assembly.


Molinaro will now compete against Riley in the newly configured District 19  which is different from the current NY 19. Significantly, the new District 19 excludes Dutchess County – part of the current district. Dutchess County represents


Molinaro’s political base. He has been identified by the RNCC as a Republican “young gun.”


Molinaro has several vulnerabilities to be exploited in this Biden +4.7 district including but not limited to:


  • strong positions against choice having recently been defeated by Pat Ryan in the special district election where Ryan emphasized his pro-choice stance


  • extensive “pay for play” and related ethics allegations and investigations during his career as a legislator and Dutchess County Executive including misapplication of Covid and American Rescue Plan funds, government contracts, etc.


  • a career-long voting record consistently supporting tax increases


Riley won his recent Democratic primary challenge with 61% of the vote defeating businessman Jamie Cheney in a hotly contested race that focused on abortion rights and guns.


Molinaro ran unopposed in the recent NY19 Republican primary.



 Democratic Committees and Organizations including:

New York Working Families Party

Democratic County Committees: Ulster, Cortland, Broome, Tompkins Otsego, Tioga

Democrats from Chatham, Austerlitz, Clermont, Gallatin, Cornell

Labor Unions:

       North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters

       Communications Workers of America District YS

       United Auto Workers Region 9A

        International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District 4

            NYS Nurses Association

            Laborers’ International; Union Local 785

            NYS United Teachers

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 43

National Organizations:

            Sierra Club

            End Citizens United

            Indivisible Action

            Progressive Turnout Project

            Defend the Vote

Voter Protection Project

            Democrats Serve

            Backroads PAC 

Numerous Local and State Elected Officials and Dignitaries

Adapted from Campaign Website

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