Dems notch major special election win, 2 incumbents fall in big primary night

Democrat Pat Ryan has won a closely-watched special election in upstate New York, a promising sign for the Democratic Party looking to try to cling to power in Washington in November.

With over 95 percent of the expected vote counted, Ryan beat Republican Marc Molinaro in a swing district that President Joe Biden won by fewer than 2 points in 2020. 

 The election was seen as the best and last temperature check of the national political mood with voters ahead of November, when Democrats will be defending narrow majorities in both the House and the Senate.

Even though the winner will only represent the district for a few months, the short-term result could have broader implications: Both parties competed heavily in the race.

Ryan and outside groups backing his campaign centered the race as a referendum on abortion rights, while Molinaro — a highly sought-after GOP recruit — focused on inflation and the broader economy.

No single race months before November will accurately predict who will ultimately hold the House in 2023. But the win is a major boon for Democrats,

and will likely further reaffirm Democratic candidates' focus on abortion rights leading up to the fall.

It's also the latest in a string of House special elections in which Democrats have equaled or outperformed Biden's 2020 numbers in the district, in a boost to the party's political fortunes after months of sagging numbers.