KINGSTON, N.Y. — Former state Sen. Jen Metzger announced her intention to run for Ulster County executive, adding her name to a growing list of Democrats looking to succeed Pat Ryan — should Ryan win election to Congress.
Metzger, a Democrat from Rosendale who now sits on the state Cannabis Control Board, announced her candidacy in a tweet Wednesday, stating: “Should Pat Ryan represent us in Congress, I will run for Ulster County executive. The opportunities for our county to be a model of a people-centered, sustainable economy are incredibly exciting, and I would welcome the chance to bring my experience to this important job.”
County Comptroller March Gallagher and Deputy County Executive Marc Rider have also announced their plan to seek the Democratic Party endorsement to become county executive if Ryan is elected to Congress.
Gallagher announced her candidacy almost immediately after Ryan announced his plan to run for Congress. In her statement, she said she has worked with the executive and Legislature to implement “important changes” in county government.
“If elected, I will build on my experience and successes as County Comptroller to continue Pat’s good work here in Ulster,” she said. “This has been a year of many changes and no matter who is in which office, we need to continue our commitment to making Ulster county the best place for people to live, work, and thrive.”
Ulster County Democratic Elections Commissioner Ashley Dittus said that under state election law, the political parties will choose who will be on the ballot for the special election at party conventions.
No Republicans have yet announced their plan to run for county executive.
Ryan is running in a special Aug. 23 election against Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro for election to the 19th congressional district seat vacated by former U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, who resigned Wednesday to become New York’s lieutenant governor. The victor in that race will serve until the end of the year.
Should Ryan win that election, a second special election would be held, this one in late December to fill the remainder of Ryan’s term, which expires Dec. 31, 2023.
Win or lose in August, Ryan will run again in November for election to the newly drawn 18th congressional district.
Molinaro, meanwhile, will run in November for election to the newly drawn 19th congressional district.
However, if Ryan loses in the August special election and wins in November, he would remain county executive through the end of December. In that case, a special election would be held in April to fill the remainder of Ryan’s term.
In either instance, under Ryan’s succession order, Rider would become acting county executive until a new county executive can be sworn in.
“Should that happen, I will run in a special election to retain that seat. For now, I will remain focused on the important work we are doing, and in my free time, I will work to get Democrats elected this November,” Rider said in a statement announcing his candidacy. “When the time comes I will lay out my full plans and make the case for why I should be your next county executive. Until then I will continue working to make Ulster County a great place to call home. My priorities will remain as they have always been: making our community more affordable for all, enhancing our mental health and addiction services, and fighting for the survival of our planet.”
Ryan was first elected county executive in April 2019 to finish the term of fellow Democrat Michael Hein, who left to take a state post. Ryan then was elected in November 2019 to a full four-year term. He is currently in the third year of that four-year term.
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