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Nicholas Langworthy, elected Tuesday in the 23rd Congressional District, is shown during a campaign stop in Olean on Oct. 26.


By RICK MILLER

Nicholas Langworthy was still on a high from his landslide win in the 23rd Congressional District Tuesday night when news organizations called the New York governor’s race for Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Langworthy, the state Republican chairman, had invested a lot of time and resources to help elect Rep. Lee Zeldin of Long Island as the next governor of New York.

Soon after claiming victory in the 23rd Congressional race over Democrat Max Della Pia at 9:15 p.m. in Buffalo, Langworthy flew to New York City to Zeldin headquarters for what he hoped would be a victory party.

Zeldin, he believed, would be the first Republican governor in the state since George Pataki.

It was not to be. Trailing Hochul by 5%, Zeldin conceded the race Wednesday afternoon. Hochul, a Buffalo native, is the state’s first woman to be elected governor.

Langworthy’s August Republican primary victory over Carl Paladino set up the contest with Della Pia, a retired Air Force colonel who is chairman of the Tioga County Democratic Party.

Della Pia lost in the special election to Republican Joe Sempolinski, R-Canisteo, who is now serving the remainder of former Rep. Tom Reed’s term.

In remarks to reporters in Buffalo shortly after the polls closed and before any results had been reported, Langworthy said, “I am very proud to be the congressman-elect from this district. But I also am very proud to be the chairman of the New York Republican Party here tonight. And I made a promise to our next governor. I wouldn’t be standing by his side tonight when we announced that he has become the next governor of the state,” he said, according to WIVB-TV.

Langworthy also told the media, “Tonight I will pledge to the people of the 23rd Congressional District that I am with anyone in Washington, D.C. who is committed to common sense agenda that puts American back on track for Western New York and the Southern Tier. I will fight for an economy that’s strong. A nation that’s safe. A future that’s built on freedom and a government that’s accountable to the people that it serves.”

Langworthy isn’t sure yet whether he’ll be serving in the majority in the House, where a projected red wave of Republican votes failed to materialize. Some House elections are so close they will be determined by absentee votes that were still being counted.

Midterm elections are often a referendum on the president and party in power. Tuesday seemed to many analysts pretty much of a draw as the millions of absentee and mailed ballots were being counted across the country. The Senate majority may rest on a runoff election in Georgia.

In a telephone interview with Langworthy on Wednesday, he acknowledged that while early voting in Erie County gave Della Pia an early lead, he was also aware that 60,000 more Republicans than Democrats had voted across the district.

“I spoke with Max today. We had a very nice talk,” Langworthy said. “I thanked him for running a nice, clean campaign.”

Langworthy said his approach to the general election was the same as in the primary where he outpolled Paladino in the six Southern Tier counties while losing in the part of Erie County in the new 23rd District.

“The Southern Tier wants their representative to show up,” Langworthy said. “That’s the way I handle myself. My roots are deep in the Southern Tier. No one should worry that their concerns are not my concerns. I am extremely grateful for the outpouring of support.”

Asked which House committee he would seek a seat on, Langworthy indicated his preference would be the Energy and Commerce Committee, despite a history of freshmen congressmen not getting that assignment. It could all rest on whether Republicans or Democrats control the House.

Langworthy said the district can expect “world-class constituent service” and he is already assembling his staff.

In the seven-county district, Langworthy polled 189,022 votes to 101,643 votes for Della Pia.

In Cattaraugus County, Langworthy outpolled Della Pia 17,676 to 7,087, or 68.8% to 27.6%.

Allegany County voters gave Langworthy a wider margin, 11,321 to 3,567, or 73,8% to 23.2%.