Plugged In – Election Recap – November 8, 2018
- Democrats Sweep Statewide Offices, Gain Control of State Senate
- Cuomo, DiNapoli, Gillibrand Easily Win Re-Election
- Democrats Win Big to Take State Senate
- James Wins Attorney General Race
- New York Democrats Pick Up Three House Seats
- Assembly Incumbents Defeated
Democrats Sweep Statewide Offices, Gain Control of State Senate
New York’s Democrats did better than expected in Tuesday’s midterm elections. They swept all of the statewide offices, gained control of the State Senate and flipped three Congressional seats to help the Democrat retake control of the House of Representatives.
The state-level wins mean that the Democrats will have complete control of Albany, which is expected to have significant impacts – many of which are unclear — in terms of state policymaking.
(Note that all of the election results discussed below are “unofficial” and in some cases incomplete. Most races will be certified in early December, though some very close races may be certified later if litigation is involved.)
Cuomo, DiNapoli, Gillibrand Easily Win Re-Election
Governor Andrew Cuomo won a third term easily, defeating Republican Marc Molinaro 58 percent to 36 percent. In his victory speech, Gov. Cuomo called New York State the “progressive capital” of the nation and a fortress against the policies of President Donald Trump. Gov. Cuomo is rumored to be one of the many Democratic politicians who are considering a 2020 presidential bid.
Democratic State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Democratic U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand were also overwhelmingly re-elected to their respective offices.
Democrats Win Big to Take State Senate
Democrats have “flipped” a number of State Senate races, giving them a majority of votes in the 63-member State Senate for the first time since the 2009-2010 session. (32 votes are needed for a majority in the State Senate.) With the exception of 2009-10, the GOP has controlled the State Senate since the 1930’s.
The Democrats needed a net gain of just one seat to flip control of the State Senate; they appear to have gained as many as eight based on incomplete and unofficial results. It was not a surprise that the Democrats were able to win the State Senate – the GOP was facing significant headwinds in the New York – but few expected the Senate Democrats to win such a commanding majority.
The Democrats appear to have picked up the following eight State Senate seats:
- In the 3rd Senate District (Suffolk County), Democratic Monica Martinez, a Suffolk County Legislator, defeated Republican Assemblyman Dean Murray to win the seat vacated by Senator Tom Croci (R-Sayville), who did not run for re-election.
- In the 5th Senate District (Nassau/Suffolk), Democrat James Gaughran beat incumbent Republican Carl Marcellino, who held the seat for 23 years.
- In the 6th Senate District (Nassau), Democrat Kevin Thomas appears to have narrowly defeated long-time incumbent Republican Kemp Hannon. (Hannon has not conceded in this race.)
- In the 7th Senate District (Nassau), Democrat Anna Kaplan beat freshman incumbent Republican Senator Elaine Phillips.
- In the 22nd Senate District (Brooklyn), Democrat Andrew Gounardes appears to have defeated incumbent Republican Marty Golden, who was first elected in 2001. (Golden has not conceded in this race).
- In the 39th Senate District (Orange/Rockland/Ulster), Democratic Assemblyman James Skoufis defeated Republican Tom Basile to win the race to replace retiring Republican Senator Bill Larkin.
- In the 40th Senate District (Westchester/Putnam/Dutchess), Democrat Peter Harckham defeated two-term incumbent Republican Terrence Murphy.
- In the 42nd Senate District (Orange, Ulster, Delaware and Sullivan counties), Democrat Jen Metzger leads Republican Ann Rabbitt in the race to replace retiring Republican John Bonacic. (Rabbitt has not conceded in this race).
If these results hold, the Democrats will control at least 39 Senate seats in January, far more than the 32 required. Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder, who has caucused with the Republicans, could be their 40th vote if he caucuses with the Democrats.
The Senate Democrat Majority will also include a lot of new faces. If the current results hold, there will be 15 new Democrat State Senators taking office in January.
The Senate Democratic leadership has indicated that their 2019 legislative agenda will include enacting the Reproductive Health Act, which would codify Roe v. Wade; a “red flag” gun control bill; and voting and campaign finance reforms.
James Wins Attorney General Race
Democrat Letitia “Tish” James cruised to victory over Republican Keith Wofford in the state Attorney General’s race. Unofficial results show her winning with about more than 60 percent of the vote.
James will give up her current position as New York City Public Advocate. (This could have some impacts in Albany as a number of Democratic Assembly members have expressed interest in running for that seat. It will be filled at a special election to be held some time in February 2019).
New York Democrats Pick Up Three House Seats
Democrats also “flipped” three U.S. House seats in New York, helping the Democrats to regain control of the U.S. House after eight years of GOP House control.
In Staten Island and Brooklyn, Democrat Max Rose defeated incumbent Republican Dan Donovan.
In the Hudson Valley, Democrat Antonio Delgado defeated incumbent Republican John Faso.
In Central New York, Democrat Anthony Brindisi appears to have defeated incumbent Republican Claudia Tenney. (Tenney has not conceded in this race.)
Assembly Incumbents Defeated
This election will not have any appreciable impact on control of the State Assembly, where the Democrats have retained their overwhelming majority.
But some Assembly incumbents will not be returning to Albany in 2019. They include:
- Democrat Christine Pellegrino in the 9th Assembly District, who lost to Republican Mike LiPetri;
- Republican Brian Curran in the 21st Assembly District, who lost to Democrat Judy Griffin;
- Democrat Addie Jenne in the 116th Assembly District, who was defeated by Republican Mark Walczyk;
- Democrat Bill Magee in the 121st Assembly District, who lost to Republican John Salka;
- In the 142nd Assembly District, Democrat Erik Bohen (who ran on the Republican and Conservative lines) was defeated by Democrat Patrick Burke; and
- Republican Ray Walter in the 146th Assembly District, who lost to Democrat Karen McMahon.