It is primary day in New York State. Polls are open from 12:00pm until 9:00pm on Thursday. The unusual event of having a statewide election on a Thursday is the result of the traditional Tuesday date having been both the anniversary of the September 11th attack on the United States and Rosh Hashanah. There are primaries in both parties for governor of New York State.
The high profile primary is on the Democratic side, where two term incumbent Andrew Cuomo is facing a challenge from former actress and activist Cynthia Nixon. Four years ago, little known law professor Zephyr Teachout took a third of the vote from Cuomo in the Democratic primary. In his two general elections, Cuomo has won by comfortable margins against his republican opponents. In 2010 he beat buffalo area businessman Carl Paladino by 30 per centage points. Four years ago Cuomo defeated Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino by 14 points. In a pattern that would be repeated in the 2016 presidential election, the democrats won the New York City metropolitan votes by a wide margin, wide enough to overcome the advantage the republican gained in the rest of the state.
On the lieutenant governor race, again it is the Democrat incumbent who has a primary challenger. Kathy Hochul, the sitting A.G., is running against New York City councilman Jumaane Williams. The New York State Attorney General Democratic primary is a four way race for an open seat created by the resignation of Eric Schniederman.
The candidates include:
- Zephyr Teachout – law professor at Fordham who lives in Dutchess County. Teachout burst onto the state political scene four years ago when she gathered 34% of the vote in a Democratic primary for governor, against Andrew Cuomo. Teachout had little name recognition at that time. Teachout lost to Rep. John Faso I 2016 in the race for the NY – 19th district congressional seat. Earlier this year Teachout again sought the Democratic nod for the 19th district, but lost in a candidate rich field to Antonio Delgado. She has been endorsed by the NY Times in her run for state Attorney General.
- Letitia James – a Brooklyn native, James is the public advocate for the City of New York. She previously served on the New York City Council. James has the backing of Gov. Cuomo and endorsements from several labor unions across the state.
- Sean Patrick Maloney – Congressman, serving NY – 18th district. Born in Canada to American parents, Maloney grew up in Vermont. Worked in the Clinton administration. Maloney and his husband live in Putnam County. They have three children.
- Leecia Eve – born in Buffalo, Eve was a member of the Board of Commissioners for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. She previously served in the Cuomo administration in several economic development jobs. She currently heads up governmental affairs for Verizon.
The state A.G. Race is an open question. Some polls have James and Maloney neck and neck, with Teachout close behind in third. An internal democrat poll reportedly had James five points ahead of Teachout and Maloney in third. Whoever comes out on top in the primary will take on Republican Keith Wofford in the fall.
Two of the three governors were state attorney general before moving into the executive mansion. A second point on the importance for this primary, in a heavily democratic state, the winner of this primary would be the front runner for Attorney General in the fall election. The New York State A.G. Could play an important role in investigations involved Donald Trump. Any convictions that might come from any investigation of the administration activities in the state or the Trump business operations in the state are not subject to presidential pardon consideration.
118th Assembly – Republican
This is a two way primary for the Republican nomination to run in the general election and fill the vacancy created by Assemblyman Marc Butler’s decision not to seek re-election. The two candidates are Patrick Vincent, who owns a heating and fuel business in Poland. And Robert Smullen, a retired U.S. Marine Colonel who served 24 years and three combat tours of duty in Afghanistan. Smullen remains with active charges against him for allegedly claiming a veteran’s tax exemption on more than one property he owns in the state. Smullen says that he made an error in the filing, corrected the error and the prosecution of the charges are politically motivated. Vincent lost to Butler two years ago in a Republican primary. Smullen is endorsed by Butler. The Democratic candidate is Keith Rubino.
119th Assembly – Republican
This is another primary to get a nomination to fill an open seat in the Assembly. The two candidates seeking the Republican spot on the November ballot are both new comers to politics. Dennis Bova is a surgical technician. The other candidate for the nomination is Frederick Nichols, who recently completed post-graduate studies at Utica College. Nichols ran for a seat on the Utica Common Council in 2017, losing to incumbent Bill Phillips.
The Democrat on the November ballot will be Marianne Buttenschon. The vacancy for the district was created when Anthony Brindisi decided to run for congress.
121st Assembly – Democrat Bill Magee has been a member of the Assembly since 1991. Before that, he served as the Madison County Supervisor. He is being challenged for the Democratic nomination by Dan Butterman of Oneonta.
The winner will face Republican candidate John Salka in November.
53rd State Senate – Democrat
Dave Valesky is the incumbent for this Senate seat. He has been a member of the Senate since 2005, when he defeated Nancy Larraine Hoffmann. Valesky was a member of the breakaway Indepenent Democratic Conference, a group of Democrat Senators who caucused separate from the other Senate Democrats and often sided with Republicans, giving the Republicans control of that legislative body. The IDC disbanded this past spring. Valesky is being challenged by Rachael May, An administrator at Syracuse University.
Janet Bert Burman is the Republican who will be on the ballot in November.
Otsego County Sheriff – Republican
Richard Devlin, Jr. is completing his third term as Sheriff in Otsego County. His opponent is Robert Fernandez, a retired New York State Trooper.
One of the issues of the campaign involved accusations involving Ros Devlin, a correction officer at the Otsego County Jail and son of the sheriff. The County Board of Representatives launched an investigation into the accusations. The Chairperson of the Board at the time the investigation was launched was Kathy Clark, the wife of candidate Fernandez. Sheriff Devlin says the investigation was politically motivated. Fernandez says that Devlin was selective in his enforcement of the law.
Delvin has the endorsement of the county’s Republican Committee. Regardless of the outcome of the primary, Devlin and Fernandez will face each other in November. Fernandez will be the Democrats candidate.
Tune in tonight for election results on WUTR and WFXV.