NYS Government and Legislative Update – June Primary Election Results

New York held its first of two primary elections of the 2022 cycle yesterday. As expected, Governor Kathy Hochul won the Democratic primary, defeating Congressman Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, thereby becoming the first female Gubernatorial candidate in New York State. On the Republican side, Congressman Lee Zeldin prevailed over former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, businessman Harry Wilson, and former Special Advisor to President Trump, Andrew Giuliani. Because of the legal challenges to the state’s redistricting process, a second primary election will be held on August 23rd for candidates running for the U.S. Congress and the New York State Senate.

The only other primary election for statewide office was for Lieutenant Governor. Governor Hochul’s appointed Lieutenant Governor, former Congressman Antonio Delgado, won a spirited primary challenge from Ana Maria Archila, who ran as Jumaane Williams’ running mate. The Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate, Alison Esposito, did not face a primary. Accordingly, the statewide races during the general election in November will be as follows:

  • Governor Kathy Hochul (D) and Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado (D) v. Lee Zeldin (R) and Alison Esposito (R)
  • Attorney General Letitia James (D) v. Michael Henry (R)
  • Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (D) v. Paul Rodriguez (R)
  • U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D) v. Joe Pinion (R)

New York Assembly primaries were also held yesterday, and we saw unprecedented primary challenges in well over two dozen Assembly seats. For the most part, these challenges saw long-term incumbents being challenged by a wave of younger, more progressive candidates. Initial results show that most of the incumbents defeated these challengers, but we will not know final election results until the local Boards of Election complete their vote counts, which also includes absentee ballots (which could take another week or so to tally).

Democrats currently hold 107 of the Assembly’s 150 seats. While it is unlikely that this margin will shift significantly in the general election, and certainly not by a large enough margin to change the veto proof majority held by Assembly Democrats, the progressive wing of the party focused their efforts this election on attempting to expand their coalition. A slew of candidates were backed by the Working Family Party and/or the Democratic Socialists of America to challenge powerful incumbents and key committee chairs in the primary, including Assemblymembers Jeff Dinowitz (Codes Committee Chair), Deborah Glick (Higher Education Committee Chair), Kevin Cahill (Insurance Committee Chair), and Michael Benedetto (Education Committee Chair). While it appears that most of these incumbents have survived these challenges, though the race for Assemblymember Cahill’s race is very close, it is likely that future elections will result in similar intraparty primary battles.

The second primary election will be held on Tuesday, August 23, for candidates running for U.S. Congress and New York State Senate. As we have previously discussed, there will be many hotly contested primaries for Congress this year. Unfortunately, we saw low voter turnout for the first primary day, with only 178,000 ballots cast in early voting. While we do not have official final voter turnout numbers at this point, the final numbers will be very low. It will be interesting to see if voter turnout increases for the second primary in August.

With the first primary elections behind us, Albany’s attention will now shift to the special legislative session being convened by Governor Hochul on June 30. For now, the special session will focus exclusively on gun safety legislation, although women’s rights activists have been increasing pressure for the Legislature to pass the Equality Amendment in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding abortion. We will provide an update on the details of the special session later this week.

If you have additional questions about the election results, please reach out to a member of our Government Affairs practice group for assistance:

Amy J. Kellogg
John M. Jennings
Caitlin A. Anderson

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