OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The recent elections have not been what the Republican party has wanted, even after narrowly winning the House. The red wave that was predicted never materialized, but for some, there are still reasons they want to be part of the Republican Party, including a New York City councilman who has switched from Democrat to join the Republicans because of rising crime.
Brooklyn City Councilman Ari Kagan, who represents the 47th district, said he is changing parties and is set to challenge Democrat Justin Brannan in a redrawn district.
“Over the last several years in my personal humble opinion, [the] Democratic Party in New York became moving to the left at such a speed that they could not even keep up,” he said on Monday. “And on issue after issue every year, every month, I started to feel that it’s not me leaving the Democratic Party, but [the] Democratic Party very quickly started to leave me. Especially on [the] most important issue of the day, public safety.”
“Every month I found myself like ‘what am I doing in the Democratic Party?’” he said. “In my own district, in southern Brooklyn, everywhere I knocked [on] the doors people saying ‘when are you switching to the Republican Party? “I believe right now, the Democratic Party is doing everything possible in New York City to make everybody less safe.”
NYC Councilman Ari Kagan announces exit from Democratic Party to join GOP: "I believe right now, the Democratic Party is doing everything possible in New York City to make everybody less safe." https://t.co/qbH58woYyJ
— Kyle Morris (@RealKyleMorris) December 6, 2022
It comes after Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul defeated Republican Lee Zeldin in a contest that was far closer than many anticipated.
And in November the Republicans took a crucial House spot from the Democrats in New York. Marc Molinaro was declared the winner in New York’s 19th Congressional District after defeating Democrat Josh Riley.
Molinaro defeated Riley 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent with 95 percent of the voting precincts reporting, according to the New York Times.
“Tonight, the voters of upstate sent a message that they demand a government that works for them. They just want to feed their families, heat their homes, and feel safe in their communities. I’m honored to have earned the trust of more than 100,000 voters, and I will work every day to be a worthy member of Congress for both those who did and did not vote for me. We have an opportunity to bring people together, Republicans and Democrats, and send a message to Washington, D.C., that we mean business. We know there are too many families, farmers, and small businesses all across upstate New York struggling too hard, getting too little in return, and paying far too much,” Molinaro said.
“I am incredibly grateful to the people in New York’s 19th Congressional District. I commend my opponent Josh Riley, because running for office is incredibly challenging – and credit belongs to the individual who enters the arena,” Molinaro said in a tweet after the race was called.
I am incredibly grateful to the people in New York’s 19th Congressional District. I commend my opponent Josh Riley, because running for office is incredibly challenging – and credit belongs to the individual who enters the arena. pic.twitter.com/Nqfve1jf4n
— Marc Molinaro #NY19 🇺🇸 (@marcmolinaro) November 9, 2022
Molinaro detailed in his statement that he wanted to heal hard feelings from the campaign.
“I commend my opponent Josh Riley because running for office is incredibly challenging — and credit belongs to the individual who enters the arena. Looking forward, my goal is to listen to, learn from and serve all of this district. Together we will focus on solutions to address inflation, crime, and mental health, along with having the best constituent services for upstate New York,” Molinaro said.
Riley, the Democrat who lost, also offered a message of working together.
“Growing up here, I learned some important values: work hard; be humble; have each other’s backs; there’s more that unites us than divides us,” Riley said in the statement.
“This is not the result we had hoped for, and I’ll be honest: I’m disappointed. But I’m not discouraged. In fact, quite the opposite: this campaign has inspired me. It has been the privilege of my career to build this campaign with all of you and take it across upstate New York, meeting with so many people who have given me hope,” he added.
New York Republican George Santos flipped New York’s 3rd Congressional district and secured another House seat for the GOP.
— New York Post (@nypost) November 9, 2022
After the race was called, Santos took to Twitter and said: “We did it! NY03 has spoken! I promised one thing throughout this entire campaign: to be your champion in DC. Thank you for this opportunity to be your voice.”
Santos argued the policy “allows dangerous criminals to roam our cities and streets.”
“Criminals must be held accountable for their actions. Democrats in New York and across the country are putting criminals above law-abiding citizens,” he claimed according to the New York Post. “Our community is becoming more and more dangerous at the hands of Democrat leadership.”