In a race identified as a toss up by Real Clear Politics, all eyes are on the 18th Congressional District of New York as Democrat Pat Ryan and Republican Colin Schmitt fight for a large swath of the Hudson Valley.
Pat Ryan D-Gardiner and Colin Schmitt, R-New Windsor are running for a newly drawn 18th Congressional District. The new district includes all of Orange County and parts of Ulster and Dutchess counties. The district comprises 776,971 residents with a voting age population of 605,187 individuals.
Many consider the district “in-play” to determine which party controls Congress for the next two years. According to the New York State Board of Elections, the new district has 482,513 active voters: including 187,351 active Democrats, 131,060 active Republicans, and 128,202 active independent voters.
Congressman Pat Ryan currently represents the 19th District of New York after winning in a special election this past August against Marcus Molinaro, R-Red Hook. The 40-year-old congressman was raised in Kingston, NY and is a fifth generation Ulster County Resident. Ryan cited his deep ties to his home area during his in-district swearing ceremony where he spoke of the local state college, SUNY New Paltz, as a major reason for his success and upbringing. Ryan’s mother graduated from New Paltz with both her bachelors and masters degree in education.
Ryan was nominated to West Point by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-Brooklyn immediately following his graduation from Kingston High School. Ryan served two tours of duty with the Army overseas in Iraq as an Army Intelligence Officer. Working as a representative, Ryan has continued to fight for his Hudson Valley brothers and sisters in arms by supporting legislation such as the VA Home Loan Benefit Act (H.R.7735).
Ryan first stepped into political office by defeating Jack Hayes, R-Gardiner, in a 2019 special election to replace Mike Hein, D-Hurley, as Ulster County executive. Ryan served as county executive until stepping down on September 9, 2022 to serve as the current representative for the 19th Congressional District of New York.
Ryan fights for workers rights and a level playing field for all working class individuals. He has called out larger organizations for abusive practices such as overcharging clientele and pushed corporations to provide better wages for employees. Ryan stands against a national abortion ban and said will work towards reversing the decision made by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade.
Additionally Ryan supports increased safety in our communities. He has done so by increasing funding for Ulster County’s URGENT Violent Crime Task Force. Ryan also supports strong infrastructure, aiding those who suffer with mental health issues and safeguarding the environment.
Colin Schmitt is a 32-year-old representative of the New York State Assembly from New Windsor, New York. He currently serves as the Assemblyman for New York’s 99th District covering sections of Rockland and Orange County. Schmitt has held office since 2018.
He is also a licensed commercial real estate agent with his wife, Nikki, who is broker of their third-generation family business.
Schmitt’s political career began during his time at Valley Central High School high school in Montgomery, NY when he volunteered for then Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt, R-Greenwood Lake. The New York State Assembly would go on to acknowledge Schmitt’s hard work, eventually hiring him as the youngest aide in state history.
Upon graduation Schmitt entered Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning in Georgia. Schmitt currently serves as a sergeant in the Army National Guard.1569th Transportation Company of New Windsor. He graduated in 2012 from the The Catholic University of America with Pi Gamma Mu honors and a degree in Politics and a minor in Theology.
For the 2021-22 Legislative Session, Schmitt served as the ranking minority member of the Assembly Committee on Local Government. He also serves on the Housing, Labor, and Insurance committees. Schmitt also co-chairs the Assembly Minority Water Quality Task Force and the Legislative Commission on Water Resource Needs of New York State. Schmitt also serves as co-chair of the bipartisan and bicameral Sportsmen’s Legislative Caucus.
During his first legislative session, Schmitt passed 43 sponsored, co- and multi-sponsored bills, with a bipartisan focus on tax relief and ethics reform.
Prior to his election to the state Assembly, Schmitt served as the chief of staff for the town supervisor of New Windsor working to ensure town operations ran as planned.
If elected, Schmitt said he aims to fight inflation, battle crime and illegal immigration, work to aid veterans in need, and stand up for parents and students.