New Yorkers are considering a full ballot of candidates and referendums on Tuesday. While many of the toughest battles in this Democrat-dominated city waged during primary races, there are still important choices for voters to make.
With every seat in the State Assembly and State Senate up for grabs, this election is being closely watched to see if the balance of power in Albany — with the Senate held by Republicans with a razor-thin majority — will shift to Democrats, who control the Assembly.
September’s primary election saw a wave of young progressive candidates knock out longtime Democratic incumbents. The most notable casualty was Queens Democratic boss and U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley by newcomer Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.
Six members of the Independent Democratic Conference, the breakaway group that caucused with Republicans in the State Senate, were defeated.
As for the statewide races, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is facing Republican challenger Julie Killian.
New York City Public Advocate and former City Council Member Letitia James, a Democrat, is running against lawyer Keith Wofford, a Republican, for the state attorney general seat.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat first elected in 2008, is being challenged by Chele Farley, a Republican fundraiser and former financier.
But all eyes are on U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan and State Sen. Marty Golden — two Republican lawmakers fending off challenges by Democrats who say they are energized by the “Blue Wave” they hope to ride this election season.
Polls opened at 6 a.m. Tuesday and will stay open until 9 p.m. To check your polling location, head to the New York Board of Elections website.
Among the dozens of races, here is a closer look at a few key contests:
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) vs. Marc Molinaro (R)
Cuomo is looking for his third term as New York State’s chief executive officer. Promoting himself as a fighter who will protect “New York Values,” Cuomo has branded himself as the “anti-Trump” who fights for civil rights, gun control, supports the LGBTQ community and women. He has cited the passage of marriage equality, increased minimum wage and paid family leave on his watch. He also points to the opening of the Second Avenue subway and planned improvements for LaGuardia Airport, but he has not escaped the ire of subway riders who complain about failing MTA service. Cuomo has also tried to distance himself from corruption scandals and ensuing trials that have enveloped Albany in recent years.
Molinaro, who serves as the executive of Dutchess County, says a lifetime of public service has helped him prepare for the job as governor. He was elected to the Village of Tivoli board of trustees at the age of 18, and went on to become mayor the following year. He served on the legislature of Dutchess County before winning a spot in the State Assembly.
He has released his own plans to fix the MTA and fight political corruption in Albany. Knowing he is the underdog in the race, Molinaro has tried to differentiate himself from Cuomo, the son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, by stressing his modest upbringing.
U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R) vs. Max Rose (D)
As one of the few elected Republicans in New York City, Donovan was happy to align himself with President Trump during his contentious primary battle with former Rep. Michael Grimm.
His district includes Staten Island — one of the few Trump strongholds in the five boroughs. The former Staten Island district attorney said he helped keep the borough safe while focusing on issues important to local residents, such as transportation and taxes.
Rose, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, has said his unique background will help him win voters in the Republican-leaning district. He has promised to focus on a bipartisan approach to issues such as battling gun violence, fighting the opioid crisis and fixing health care.
State Senator Martin Golden (R) vs. Andrew Gounardes (D)
Golden has represented the district, which includes a swath of southern Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Bay Ridge, Marine Park and Dyker Heights, since 2003.
A retired New York City police officer, Golden touts his close ties to the community and record of delivering important resources to his constituents. He has also been at the center of a controversy surrounding the city’s speed cameras in school zones. He and his colleagues did not extend the program, which targets speeders around schools. The New York Times reported that Golden’s car was caught speeding in school zones 10 times since 2015.
Gounardes, who serves as counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, ran against Golden in 2012 and lost. In the wake of superstorm Sandy, he formed Bay Ridge Cares and has been involved in other community service programs.
But he believes Democrats have momentum against entrenched incumbents this year, and has focused on pedestrian safety, promising to work for speed cameras at all schools.