Next Tuesday (14 September) is primary day in New York. For local elections, this is often the most important day of the electoral calendar, as the Democratic winners tend to carry through in November. This year, there are a number of heavily contested races at the local level. While NAG does not take a position on electoral matters, we encourage everyone to get out and vote – the results of all of these races have the potential to make a big difference in your life.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s at stake next week, from the top down (and keeping it local):
Governor – Andrew Cuomo is running uncontested on the Democratic line (as is his Lieutenant Governor running mate). Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino are vying for the Republican nomination.
Attorney General – A busy five-way race on the Democratic side, with Richard Brodsky, Sean Coffey, Eric Dinallo, Kathleen Rice and Eric Schneiderman all in the running.
U. S. Senator – Both U. S. Senate seats are up for grabs this year. Chuck Schumer is running unopposed in the primary, while incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand (who was appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s seat) is being challenged by Gail Goode for the right to serve out the last two years of Clinton’s term. Two Republicans (Gary Bernsten and Jay Townsend) are running for the chance to challenge Schumer, and three (Bruce Blakeman, Joe DioGuardi and David Malpass) are vying to challenge Gillibrand in November.
U. S. Congress – Ed Towns is being challenged by Kevin Powell in the 10th C.D. Nydia Velazquez faces two challengers for the 12th C.D. nomination, Bruce Hirschfeld and George Martinez. In the 14th C.D. (which includes Long Island City and Sunnyside), there is a very competitive race between incumbent Carolyn Maloney and challenger Reshma Saujani.
State Senate – Incumbent Velmanette Montgomery is facing a challenge from Mark Pollard for the Democratic nod in the 18th Senate District (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Red Hook, parts of Park Slope, Carroll Gardens).
State Legislature – In the 50th Assembly District (Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn), incumbent Joe Lentol is being challenged by Andre Soleil. In the 52nd AD (Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Bay Ridge), Joan Millman is the incumbent and Doug Biviano the challenger for the Democratic ticket.
And at the very, very local level, there are a number of highly competitive races for District Leader in the Kings County Democratic Committee. These races are usually uncontested, or fought with token opposition, but this year, the New Kings Democratic club has backed a number of strong challengers to party-backed candidates. Here are the most local of these hyper-local races (one male and one female leader will be elected for each district):
50th A. D. District Leader – Kate Zidar vs. incumbent Linda Minucci. Lincoln Restler vs. Warren Cohn (no incumbent in this race, though Cohn is running to succeed his father, long-time DL Steve Cohn).
52nd AD District Leader – Jo Anne Simon is the incumbent against Hope Reichbach. Chris Owens (son of former Congressman Major Owens) is running against Stephen Williamson and Jesse Strauss for an open seat.
53rd AD District Leader – Esteban Duran is running against incumbent (and Kings County Democratic Party leader) Vito Lopez.
Oh, and there are new voting machines this year. That satisfying ka-thunk that came with a pull of the level is a thing of the past – from now on, we’ll be bubbling in ballots and feeding them into machines. Expect some delays, as this is the first time the new machines will be in use. And if you want to know what you are in store for, the city has a guide to the new machines here.
Don’t know where to vote? Find out here.
Not registered to vote? It’s too late to register for 2010, but never to early to register for 2011 and beyond – you can do it right here. (You must be registered in a party to vote in that party’s primary. Sorry, independents – you’ll have to wait until November to vote.)