Brooklynites will head to the polls on Thursday to vote in the state’s primary elections, casting ballots for candidates including contenders for New York State governor. And because Kings County mostly bleeds blue, the outcome of Democratic primaries for many Senate and Assembly seats will likely decide who will represent you up in Albany. Read on for our primer on this year’s primary elections:
Incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo is pushing his years of service in a campaign against rival and former “Sex and the City” actress Cynthia Nixon, a political novice who claims she is even bluer than the longtime pol. Nixon, whose self-proclaimed progressive platform centers on issues including shoring up the beleaguered subway system, legalizing marijuana, and strengthening tenants’-rights laws, has blasted Cuomo as “corrupt” and long overdue to depart from Albany. But Cuomo, who some polls show holds a double-digit lead over his challenger despite a controversial mailer his party recently sent accusing her of being an anti-Semite, maintains Nixon simply doesn’t have the legislative experience needed to run New York State. The winner of the gubernatorial Democratic primary will go on to face candidates including Republican Marc Molinaro — who will also be on the Conservative and Reform tickets — the Independence Party’s Stephanie Miner, and Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins in the November general election.
• Seeking his third term as the state’s top pol, a position he has held since 2011. A primary win will almost certainly keep Cuomo in office, allowing him to follow in the footsteps of his late father, three-term New York State governor Mario Cuomo.
• Previously served as the New York State Attorney General from 2007 to 2010, and the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1997 to 2001, under President Clinton.
• Born in Queens.
• Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award–winning actress who has worked as a gay-rights and public-education activist with organizations including Empire State Pride Agenda, Fight Back New York, and the Alliance for Quality Education.
• Backed by the Working Families Party.
• Born in Manhattan.
Cuomo’s sitting deputy, Kathy Hochul, is seeking her second term in office after voters sent her to Albany in 2014. But the former Buffalo Congresswoman also faces a challenger claiming to be even bluer than she in Midwood Councilman Jumaane Williams, a self-described Democratic Socialist and founding member of Council’s Progressive Caucus who, like his ally Nixon, is promising to shake up the status quo in the capital if elected. Polls have shown the incumbent holds a slight lead over Williams, but late-breaking endorsements of the challenger from far-left stalwarts including Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have kept his campaign in the spotlight in his final days on the trail.
The winner of the lieutenant governor Democratic primary will go on to face candidates including Republican Julie Killian and Independent Michael Volpe in November’s general election.
• Running alongside Cuomo.
• Elected to represent New York State’s 26th District in a 2011 special election, but lost her Congressional seat the following year to Republican Chris Collins, who still holds the office.
• Born in Buffalo.
• Running alongside Nixon.
• Re-elected to a second four-year term representing Council’s 45th District last year, but lost a subsequent bid for Council Speaker.
• Born in Manhattan to Grenadian immigrants, but bred in Brooklyn, where he attended Brooklyn Technical High School and Brooklyn College.
In May, state lawmakers voted to name then Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood to the position of top prosecutor until the end of the year, after her disgraced predecessor Eric Schneiderman abruptly resigned after four women accused him of sexual and physical abuse. And now, four prominent lawyers, including two black women, are vying to replace Underwood — who is not running — in the seat previously held only by white men. Whoever secures the Democratic nomination will face Republican Keith Wofford in November’s general election.
• New York City’s current Public Advocate, and a former councilwoman who represented Fort Greene and other neighborhoods in the 35th Council District.
• Endorsed by Cuomo.
• Born in Brooklyn.
• A Fordham University law professor, who unsuccessfully ran against Cuomo in the 2014 gubernatorial primary.
• Endorsed by First Lady Chirlane McCray, and Sen. Sanders.
• Born in Seattle.
• A former litigator and staffer to Democratic politicians Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Cuomo.
• Currently working as an executive at communications company Verizon.
• Born in Buffalo.
Sean Patrick Maloney
• Sitting Congressman representing the Hudson Valley region, and New York State’s first openly gay Congress member.
• Lost to Cuomo in the 2006 Democratic primary for Attorney General.
• Born in Canada.
Democratic Socialist of America candidate and political novice Julia Salazar is running a grass-roots campaign to oust eight-term incumbent Martin Malave Dilan, hoping to capitalize on a wave of support following her fellow Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s win over longtime Queens Congressman Joe Crowley in June’s federal primaries. But Salazar has recently drawn criticism over revelations that she previously registered as a Republican in Florida and lied about being a Colombian immigrant. Meanwhile, Dilan — who has represented parts of Bushwick, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bedford-Stuyvesant, East New York, and Brownsville up in Albany since 2003 — has also come under fire for raking in more cash from the real-estate industry than any other state Senator, even as he professed to be a tenants’-rights champion, and for failing to report thousands of donations in 2016.
• Previously represented the area as a councilman for 10 years, and a one-time ally of dead and disgraced Democratic party boss Vito Lopez.
• Endorsed by Mayor DeBlasio.
• Born in Bushwick to parents from Puerto Rico, and has three children, one of whom is Brooklyn Assemblyman Erik Dilan.
• Has lived in Bushwick for three years, according to a spokesman.
• Endorsed by Ocasio-Cortez, Nixon, Democratic Rep. Nydia Velazquez, and Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D–Bushwick).
• Born in Florida to an American mother and a father of Colombian descent.
Two self-proclaimed progressives are vying to secure the Democratic nomination in order to oust the district’s eight-term incumbent, Republican state Sen. Marty Golden, in November. County-backed candidate Andrew Gounardes is waging his second challenge against Golden, who defeated him in the 2012 election, raking in 26,000 votes to Gounardes’s 19,000 and change. And journalist Ross Barkan, a political novice running his inaugural campaign, has managed to earn the endorsements of deep-blue darlings including Ocasio-Cortez. Both candidates have promised to improve bus and subway service, specifically on the beleaguered R train, stand strong against bigotry, and keep local streets safe from speeding drivers in their quest to take on — and kick out — Golden.
• Previously worked for former Bay Ridge Councilman Vincent Gentile, and now serves as counsel to Borough President Adams.
• A member of the Bay Ridge Democrats.
• Backed by local leaders including Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Frank Seddio, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Park Slope Councilman Brad Lander.
• Born in Bay Ridge.
• Has worked as a journalist and columnist for the Village Voice, the Guardian, and the New Yorker.
• A former substitute teacher at Fort Hamilton High School.
• Endorsed by Ocasio-Cortez along with several unions and political clubs, including the People for Bernie Sanders, the Bay Democrats, the 504 Democratic Club, and the Muslim Democratic Club of New York.
• Born in Bay Ridge.
Sitting Democratic state Sen. Simcha Felder — who voters in 2012 elected to represented parts of Borough Park, Midwood, and Flatbush — has controversially caucused across the aisle with the Republicans to give them a majority since he arrived in Albany. The incumbent seeking a fourth term faces attorney Blake Morris, who has focused his campaign around affordable housing, protecting and enhancing women’s rights, and passing legislation that guarantees health care to all state residents.
• Incumbent who ran on the Democratic, Republican, and Conservative lines in the 2016 state Senate election.
• Previously represented much of the same area in as a councilman from 2002 to 2010.
• Wants armed officers in every private and public school in the city.
• Born in Brooklyn, where he was raised in the Orthodox Jewish faith, and lives with his wife and kids in the house he grew up in.
• An attorney who practices in his home neighborhood of Ditmas Park.
• Supports reinstating the citywide speed-camera program — a legislative effort Felder stymied earlier this summer, forcing local pols and Gov. Cuomo to strike a deal that turned the cameras back on just as a new school year began, but requires the governor to issue new executive orders every 30 days to keep them operational.
• A Brooklyn Democratic Party county committee member.
• Born in Pennsylvania.
Political newcomer Zellnor Myrie is trying to oust Crown Heights’s siting state Sen. Jesse Hamilton, who had controversially caucused with Republican senators as a member of the Independent Democratic Conference until it dissolved in April. Hamilton, however, still has the backing of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, but has come under fire from critics for allegedly sending a slanderous e-mail about an Albany colleague after she threw her support behind his challenger. The two-term incumbent has focused his campaign on social-justice reform, including the announcement of new legislation to crack down on discriminatory 911 calls, an issue also championed by his challenger, who in addition has promised criminal-justice and immigration-law reform while on the trail.
• In 2014, ran unopposed as a Democrat for his current seat, in which he succeeded Borough President Adams upon his move from Albany to Borough Hall.
• Previously worked in the city’s Department of Finance conducting small-claims hearings for property-tax reductions for 28 years.
• Born in the Bronx, and grew up in public housing.
• Previously worked as a legislative director for Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera.
• Endorsed by Mayor DeBlasio and more than a dozen other pols, including Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D–Red Hook), Brooklyn Heights Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, and Councilmen Reynoso, Lander, and Carlos Menchaca (D–Red Hook).
• Born in Crown Heights.
Longtime state Sen. Diane Savino, who also caucused with the Republicans as a member of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference, faces a challenge from the left in the form of political newcomer Jasmine Robinson, who hopes to take the sitting pol’s seat representing parts of Bensonhurst, Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Dyker Heights, Gravesend and Sunset Park, as well as Staten Island.
• First elected to seat in 2004.
• Endorsed by Bay Ridge Democratic Congressional nominee Max Rose, who is running against sitting Republican Rep. Dan Donovan in November.
• Born in Queens.
• Works as a legal secretary on Staten Island.
• Backed by the Working Families Party, Nixon, and Ocasio-Cortez.
• Born in the Bronx.
Two candidates are battling to claim the open seat representing Bath Beach, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach, Coney Island, and Dyker Heights vacated by disgraced Assemblywoman Pamela Harris, who resigned in April after the Feds charged her with stealing money from storm-recovery agencies. Democratic hopefuls Mathylde Frontus and Ethan Lustig-Elgrably are both trying to convince voters they are the best person to tackle the area’s many issues, which include improving affordable housing and public transportation, bringing more classrooms to the area, and fighting illegal home conversions. Whoever gets the Democratic nomination will go on to face Republican candidate Steve Saperstein in the November general election.
• Earned her PhD in social work from Columbia University, and currently serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s and New York University’s schools of social work.
• Founded local community organizations including Urban Neighborhood Services and the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative.
• Endorsed by good-government group Citizens Union, and political clubs including the Brooklyn Young Democrats and the 504 Democratic Club.
• Former Chief of Staff and Legislative Director to Coney Island Councilman Mark Treyger.
• Recently resigned from his job at the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation to campaign full-time.
• Backed by a slew of pols including Comptroller Scott Stringer, Borough President Adams, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D–Coney Island).
• Born in Brooklyn.
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