Gov. Andrew Cuomo won a third term in office on Tuesday.
The governor defeated Republican Marc Molinaro as well as three third-party candidates – Larry Sharpe, Stephanie Miner and Howie Hawkins – with 73.74 percent of the vote, as of 9:20 p.m., according to the Associated Press.
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Cuomo was first elected governor in 2011. The Queens native was previously New York attorney general, U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development and chair of the New York City Homeless Commission.
The governor has promoted himself as the “anti-Trump” candidate who will protect “New York values” by fighting for civil rights, gun control and rights for the LGBTQ community and women.
He often refers to the passage of the statewide minimum wage, marriage equality, paid family leave and “Raise the Age” as examples of his progressiveness.
He also touts the completion of the first stage of the Second Avenue Subway, the new Tappan Zee Bridge (now named the Mario Cuomo Bridge) and steps toward improvements to Penn Station and LaGuardia Airport, but he has been sharply criticized for the MTA’s poor subway service. The governor repeatedly calls on the city to pay for half of the Fast Forward plan to modernize the system, which has an estimated cost of $30 to $40 billion.
Cuomo has been criticized for corruption within his administration, but he maintains that he has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
The current Dutchess County executive has pitched himself as an “ordinary New Yorker” throughout his campaign for governor.
“I know what it means to struggle,” he said at a campaign event days before the election.
Molinaro grew up with a single mother, went to public schools and earned an associates’ degree from a community college. If he wins the election, he’d be the first governor since Al Smith in the 1920s to not have a bachelor’s degree.
“I offer it because I get it,” the 43-year-old Republican said. “We struggle to pay our mortgage. I pay my property taxes. I’m not special … But I think there is something valuable about having someone in office who really lives the life of most people he serves.”
Molinaro has campaigned for property tax cuts and fixing corruption.
In August, he unveiled his plan to fix the MTA, which relies heavily on collective bargaining, overtime and health care reforms to bring down operating and capital project costs.
His political history dates to 1994, when he was elected to serve on the Village of Tivoli board of trustees at the age of 18. He became the youngest mayor in the history of the United States a year later and, at 36, he was the youngest person elected as Dutchess County executive.
A former mayor of Syracuse, Stephanie Miner announced she is running for governor as an independent under the new party Serve America Movement, which grew from dissatisfaction with the 2016 election.
“New Yorkers have been fed up with politics as usual for far too long,” she said in a statement on her website. “And while I have been a proud Democrat my entire life, sometimes in order to change the system you have to create a new path for real change to happen.”
Miner began her career with Cuomo’s father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, and worked closely with Hillary Clinton in her 2016 presidential campaign. She became the first female mayor in Syracuse in 2010 and served for two terms.
She rose to statewide attention in 2013 when she wrote a New York Times opinion piece criticizing a Cuomo pension “smoothing” plan that she said would hurt municipalities and property taxpayers.
On her campaign website, she says she wants to restore trust in government by creating a new, independent commission to investigate corruption, prohibiting “giveaways” to campaign contributors and banning anonymous campaign contributions; reform the voting process by allowing same-day registration, early voting and vote by mail; cut property taxes and rebuild infrastructure.
Hawkins, who previously ran for governor in 2014 and 2010, announced in April he is running again on the Green Party ticket.
“Progressives need to raise our expectations and demand more,” Hawkins said, adding that his presence in the campaign moves Cuomo to the left.
“What our little Green Party does matters and we hope to make a difference in this campaign,” he said.
Hawkins advocates for clean energy, guaranteed health care, affordable housing and marijuana legalization, among other progressive policies.
Sharpe is a native New Yorker, businessman and a veteran of the Marine Corps, who is running for the state’s top executive seat as a Libertarian. He credits his seven years in the military with developing the skills he believes are needed to be an effective leader, including discipline, teamwork and strategic thinking.
As a businessman, Sharpe got his start in trucking and distribution. He is the managing director of the Neo-Sage Group, which specializes in business training for entrepreneurs. Sharpe has also taught at such universities as Yale, Columbia and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, according to his campaign website.
He wants to reduce regulations and fees on businesses, cut down spending at the state level, repeal the SAFE Act, give schools more liberty to choose their curriculums and legalize marijuana.
Giambra, of Buffalo, is a former county executive of Erie County and Buffalo city comptroller. He originally announced he was running as a Republican, but later withdrew that bid and said he would run as an independent.
“I don’t think my independent message has connected with state Republican leaders who seem intent on continuing the losing formula that all but guarantees a third term for Democrat Andrew Cuomo,” he said.
Some of Giambra’s priorities are creating a debt-free New York in 15 years; changing how the state administers Medicaid by taking the cost burden away from the counties; reforming the criminal justice system by providing inmates with rehabilitative services, repealing mandatory minimum sentences and appointing a statewide public advocate; and legalizing marijuana.