KINGSTON, NY — A third candidate will be on the August 23 ballot for the Democratic primary election in New York’s 18th congressional district.
Aisha Mills secured a place on the ballot after filing a complaint contesting that her petition was deemed insufficient.
“His petitions have been challenged for various irregularities,” Ulster County Democratic Elections Commissioner Ashley Dittus said in an email Monday. “The state BOE (Board of Elections), the governing body of this petition, has found its petitions insufficient for ballot placement. She sued to bring back the petition for ballot placement. This lawsuit concluded that his petition was sufficient by nine signatures.
Dittus said when the state Board of Elections certified the ballot for the June 30 primary election, Mills was not listed. She said Mills was put on the ballot on July 5, following her trial.
As a result, the three Democratic primary candidates for the newly drawn district will be Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan of Gardiner, Moses Mugulusi of the City of Orange County in Florida, and Mills of Newburgh. . The winner of the August 23 primary election will face Republican Colin Schmitt in the general election.
Ryan is also running for the current 19th Congressional District against Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro in a special election also taking place August 23, for the seat vacated by Antonio Delgado, who is now the state’s lieutenant governor. This district will cease to exist at the end of the year. Molinaro is also a candidate for the new constituency of the 19th in November.
Mills, 44, is a journalist, political analyst and policy advocate who works for BLK Husdon Productions. She holds an MBA from the University of Maryland, College Park. Mills is engaged to Melanie Collins and has three children.
“Our basic freedoms are being eroded by extremist lawmakers who have proven they are willing to overthrow our government and trample on our basic civil rights to gain and retain power,” Mills said in a statement. “For the first time ever, the Supreme Court has taken away a constitutional right from more than half the population, and they won’t stop there. Abortion is health care, and the government has no right to dictate what women do with our bodies or the private decisions we make with our families and doctors.
Mills also said communities are less safe because the far right cares more about guns than lives, the planet is in peril due to delayed climate action and people’s voices are being silenced by a nationwide wave of anti-election laws. It is also becoming difficult for the average family to survive, she said.
“The work ahead requires more than business as usual, and I will be the champion of the Hudson Valley in Congress, fighting every day to protect our rights, support workers, and ensure our economy works for everyone, by especially the most marginalized,” Mills said. She added that she is proud to have spent her life standing up for people of color, women, and LGBTQ people, and making sure they have a voice at the table where policy decisions are made.
According to the Federal Election Commission, Mills’ campaign had raised about $18,000 as of June 30, the latest quarterly report.
The newly formed 18th Congressional District includes the City of Kingston and the Ulster County towns of Rosendale, Marbletown, Rochester, Gardiner, Lloyd, Esopus, Marlborough, Plattekill, Shawangunk, and the Village and Town of New Paltz as well as parts of the town of Wawarsing and the village of Ellenville. It also includes all of Orange County and all but the southeastern part of Dutchess County.