Scoop: New York's lone vulnerable Democrat has $2.2M war chest
Rep. Pat Ryan (D-N.Y.), the only swing-district Democrat left standing in New York, is coming into 2024 with a $2.2 million war chest, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: Ryan's allies say the figure should make House Republicans reconsider him as a top target as they defend five of their own vulnerable New York incumbents who will be key to keeping their majority.
- "If the [National Republican Congressional Committee] tells you Pat Ryan is a priority right now they're either lying or crazy," Democratic strategist Tim Persico told Axios.
Driving the news: Ryan will report raising more than $750,000 in the last three months of 2023 for a total of over $3 million raised in 2024, his campaign told Axios.
- Ryan has emerged as a top fundraiser among vulnerable House Democrats, raising by far the most in the first quarter of last year and falling just behind Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez in the second quarter.
- First elected to Congress in a nationally watched special election in 2022, Ryan became the only swing-district Democrat left in his state due to New York Republicans' localized red wave that November.
What they're saying: Republicans are "already playing defense in a bunch of tough, expensive seats, they have a NY map that's only getting harder and Pat is delivering for his district while putting up monster fundraising numbers," Persico said.
- "If [Republicans] want to go 0 for 3 that's on them, but I don't see it," he added.
- "It doesn't matter how many MAGA extremists Republicans throw at him – Pat won twice last year by putting freedom first, and that's what he'll do again this fall," Ryan's finance director Kevin Ralph said.
The other side: "Thanks to rising inflation, the raging migrant crisis and increased crime, New Yorkers are worse off than they've been in a long time," NRCC spokesperson Savannah Viar told Axios in a statement.
- "No amount of money can undo the damage inflicted on New Yorkers by Joe Biden and Pat Ryan's policies," she said.
What we're watching: House Republicans got their star recruit in the district with former New York Police Department Deputy Inspector Alison Esposito.
- Esposito was the running mate to former Rep. Lee Zeldin in his 2022 gubernatorial bid, which was widely credited with helping down-ballot Republicans over-perform in key districts across the state.
- Esposito's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.