Nick Langworthy addresses his supporters Tuesday night after his Republican primary win in the 23rd Congressional District.
By RICK MILLER
State Republican Chairman Nicholas Langworthy just completed a sprint in his GOP primary win over Carl Paladino in the new 23rd Congressional District.
He’s ready to begin the general election campaign against Democrat Max Della Pia, the Tioga County Democratic chairman and expects to debate him — unlike Paladino’s refusal to debate Langworthy in the primary. “I think I have satisfied a lot of minds in the primary.”
It has been 79 days since Langworthy announced he planned to seek election in the new 23rd District days after Rep. Chris Jacobs announced he would not seek re-election.
“In that time, I went from zero to 60 in days, not weeks,” Langworthy, a South Dayton native, told the Times Herald in an interview Friday.
In this new phase of the campaign for Congress, he’s taking a deeper dive into the issues of this new district, which he describes as “a Southern Tier District that happens to have part of Erie County attached.”
Just because southern and eastern Erie County represent a large share of the seven-county district, Langworthy said, “My family won’t let me forget the Southern Tier.”
He grew up in South Dayton, went to Pine Valley High School and his mother still lives in South Dayton.
Two issues he’s hoping to explore during tours of the district in coming weeks are agriculture and rural hospitals.
He plans to speak with leaders in the Southern Tier as well as the many public officials who endorsed him in Erie County in coming days to discuss their concerns and issues.
“Ultimate, my message will not change,” Langworthy said. His core philosophy is conservative. “People want authenticity. I want to be a serious legislator for this district
He expects the debate with Della Pia, a 32-year Air Force veteran who retired as a colonel and saw active duty in Afghanistan to “be more ideological. Max Della Pia and I represent different sides of the political spectrum.”
Langworthy said he is planning to ask questions and do his homework in long term issues in Cattaraugus County — particularly the West Valley Demonstration Project nuclear cleanup and extending the Route 219 Expressway from Springville to Salamanca.
He said he is “generally familiar” with the West Valley cleanup from his days with former Rep. Tom Reynolds, who grew up in Springville.
While he hasn’t had any in-depth conversations about Route 219, Langworthy said that with all the infrastructure money around “I have to go get the biggest piece of the pie I can.”
The economy of much of the Southern Tier is lagging because of “a lousy business climate because of Albany policies,” Langworthy commented. Being so close to Pennsylvania, the region needs relief from Albany.
“I want to work in tandem with industrial development agencies and county economic development. We need to build it in America. We need to be more protective and incentivize manufacturing.”
Siemens Energy followed a trend of buying an American company — Dresser-Rand, including its Olean manufacturing capability — then closing it, leaving hundreds of skilled workers without a job, Langworthy observed.
The pandemic should have taught the U.S. a lesson, he said. For example, when COVID-19 first broke out, the country found out there was only one company in the U.S. that made masks.
Asked where he would live if elected in November, Langworthy said the primary was just on Tuesday and Paladino had conceded the following day.
On top of that, he said, he and his wife are expecting a baby and he hasn’t had time to think about moving into the 23rd District if he’s elected.
Under the U.S. Constitution, members of the House of Representatives must live in the state they represent, but do not have to live in a given congressional district to represent it.
Have Langworthy and Paladino buried their respective hatchets after the bitter primary?
“I haven’t heard from him,” Langworthy said, adding he wasn’t expecting to after the bitter campaign during which Paladino spent $2 million of his own money — mostly on mailers and television ads.
As Langworthy turns toward fundraising for the general election, he said he’s not expecting any campaign contributions from Paladino.
Della Pia, speaking with WIVB in Buffalo after the Aug. 24 special election in which he lost to Republican Joe Sempolinski to finish out the remaining few months of former congressman Tom Reed’s term, said he was encouraged by the results.
“I was energized by the results Tuesday,” he said, noting that he finished within 6 points of a Republican in a region where Trump won by 15 points in 2016 and by 11 points in 2020.
“We were written off by … every pundit,” he said. “The 23rd is winnable and our momentum is not going to stop.”
Della Pia said he believes voters are tired of the hyper-partisanship in Washington — which he believes Langworthy represents — and they are looking for leaders who want to work for everyday Americans.