New York Primary Election Not As Close As Thought | A Breakdown

Update on the New York Primary Election: Andrew Cuomo has won with 65% over the vote over Cynthia Nixon who received 34% of the vote and will face Republican Marc Molinaro for governor. In the Democratic Primary for Attorney General, Letitia James won with 40% of the vote and will face Republican Kieth Wofford.

Election drama for the Democrats ramps up in New York, as an actress takes on an incumbent for Governor, and a battle is on for the open Attorney General spot. With Republicans having already selected their candidates, the Democrats are left with the focus with just two months before the election.

Cynthia Nixon is running to the left of incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo. Despite her star wattage, voters do not seem to be convinced of her qualifications. The latest RealClearPolitics aggregate poll has Cuomo ahead by almost 40 points.

Nixon’s campaign has focused on Cuomo’s alleged lousy handling of the New York City underground system and has been trying to label him an “Albany insider”. Nixon has also tried to connect herself to the popularity of primary upset winner Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. However, given the wide difference in polling, statewide voters do not appear to be supportive of her strategies.

Cuomo has enjoyed a large lead throughout the campaign, and his experience and $30 million war chest seems to have paid off. His messaging has been primarily devoted to the anti-Trump rhetoric employed by most Democrats around the country.

The winner will face off against former State Assemblyman and Dutchess County executive, Marc Molinaro.

The Attorney General race is much closer, after Eric Schneiderman resigned in May following domestic abuse allegations. There is only one Republican running for the spot, while Democrats must decide among four candidates. The former have put up Keith Wofford, a partner at the law firm Ropes & Gray. The latter’s battle features public activist Letitia James versus law professor Zephyr Teachout versus Rep. Sean Malone versus former Cuomo and Clinton aide Leecia Eve.

Letitia James carries the endorsement of both state Democratic notables as well as Cuomo himself. She is polling in a virtual dead-heat at 24% against Maloney’s 25%. This suggests that voters think Cuomo is more qualified to be Governor, but do not trust his opinion on the AG battle.

Teachout is polling at 18%. She is not an unfamiliar face, having previously run for both governor and congress, and has an endorsement from the New York Times.

Eve is effectively out of the race, polling at just 3%.

Wofford, however, presents an interesting challenge for the more Liberal New York voters, as he is the first African-American candidate to receive a GOP nomination for state AG.

There are two other intriguing races. The first is for State Senate District 17. New Yorkers will be familiar with State Senate incumbent Simcha Felder. The state Senate has seen real political fireworks the past few years. Felder, who is ostensibly a Democrat and is on the ballot as a Democrat, is also on the Republican and Independent ballots. After his 2012 election, Felder announced he would caucus with Republicans, throwing one monkey wrench after another into the Democrat’s state policy plans. In doing so, he tilted the state chamber to Republican control.

Thus, Felder will probably stay on the ballot as a Republican even if he loses the Democratic primary to challenger Blake Morris.

In Senate District 18, another Democratic Socialist is on the ballot — Julia Salazar. She is in a traditionally Democratic district, and like Ocasio-Ortez, is an insurgent outsider. Like Ocasio-Ortez, however, questions have arisen about her background. While she claimed to be from a Jewish working-class, immigrant family, that story has come into question.

Mike Bentley is a U.S. Politics Editor at

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