Nate Shinagawa steamrolled Tuesday to secure the Democratic nomination for the 23rd Congressional District, which includes Chautauqua County for the first time in a decade.
The primary election win for the Tompkins County legislator and hospital administrator sets up a showdown with incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, in the Nov. 6 General Election.
Shinagawa won 55 percent of the votes over fellow Democratic candidates Leslie Danks Burke, an attorney from Ithaca, and Melissa Dobson, an attorney and educator from Owego.
"It's been absolutely amazing," Shinagawa said to the OBSERVER late Tuesday after it was announced he had secured the nomination. "I'm so honored to have the support of Chautauqua County and the rest of the district. We took this campaign to every area in the district we could. We we're building up our message and the people were excited."
The Ithaca resident was dominant in Chautauqua County, receiving 65 percent of the votes.
Out of 27,344 registered Democrats in the county, 1,585 cast their votes Tuesday. Shinagawa received 1,026 votes; Danks Burke received 447; and Dobson gathered 112.
Shinagawa was heavily backed by several county Democratic committees, including Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Chemung, Steuben and Tompkins counties. He also received numerous endorsements from local mayors, township supervisors and legislators.
By 11 p.m., Danks Burke conceded the race and called Shinagawa to congratulate him.
Asked what his message for Reed was, Shinagawa said, "My message for Tom Reed is, Tom Reed should stop focusing on billionaires and start focusing on the future of our economy and the middle class."
"That's why we're going to win this race in November," he added.
The race is now on between Shinagawa and Reed, one that has been labeled an "Emerging Race" by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
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