Delgado vs. Molinaro.
It might have been a formidable race.
I say might have, because it isn't going to happen.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has said he won't run for Congress against Democrat Antonio Delgado, despite GOP efforts to recruit him.
The decision ends speculation about Molinaro's aspirations, at least for now, and makes Delgado's path to re-election just a little bit easier.
Delgado isn't running unopposed, but the effort to draft Molinaro - who ran for governor in 2018 - indicates a lack of confidence on the part of a Republican leadership eager to win back a swing district.
The lack of any clear front-runner suggests they're right to be concerned.
On Monday, Andrew Solender, a reporter for the Hudson Valley magazine Chronogram, reported that one of Delgado's opponents, Anthony German, is dropping out of the race. "German was widely seen as the de facto frontrunner," he noted, on Twitter.
Still running in New York's Congressional District are Republicans Ola Hawatmeh and Mike Roth.
If you're saying "Who?" you're probably not alone.
Molinaro's name recognition would have made him a much more viable candidate than German, Hawatmeh and Roth.
He lost badly to Cuomo, but fared well with upstate voters, beating the governor by 10 points in the 19th Congressional District. He's well-liked and could have given Delgado a run for his money, had he opted to throw his hat in the ring.
Of course, Delgado is no slouch as a candidate, which might explain why Molinaro is sitting this race out.
He has worked hard to connect with voters in his district, hosting over 30 town halls over the past year-and-a-half.
He's familiarized himself with a wide range of local issues, while also staking out positions on more controversial, national matters, such as impeachment. (He voted for it.)
Like Molinaro, he's smart and likable, and willing to discuss the issues with constituents from across the aisle. Which doesn't mean he'll win over every voter.
But it's an approach that appears to be serving him well during a period of increasing political polarization.
There's still a lot of time between now and November, when voters head to the polls, and anything can happen. Perhaps Delgado will find himself embroiled in controversy, or slipping in the polls due to his support for impeachment.
That all seems unlikely, though.
The GOP field is weak, and that's great news for Delgado.
Barring any big surprises or a last-minute reversal from Molinaro, he should cruise to re-election.
Reach Sara Foss at [email protected]