Alternatives abound in November election

Republican challenger Rob Astorino, left, and Gov. Andrew Republican challenger Rob Astorino, left, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat. Photo Credit: AP

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Dan Janison Melville. N.Y. Tuesday January 26, 2010. Daniel Janison,

Dan Janison has been a reporter at Newsday since 1997, initially as a staff writer for the New ...

The diversity of labels stands to make this election a bit more interesting.

Peek a bit past this primary season to November. Once the major-party statewide nominations are settled, voters bent on breaking from the partisan status quo on Election Day will have a few alternative parties and candidates to choose from.

They range from the lefty Green Party, which won back its automatic ballot status four years ago under returning candidate Howie Hawkins, to an odd slew of ad hoc lines -- Sapients, Libertarians, Rent is 2 Damn High.

Aware of an appetite for alternatives, the main-party candidates, Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Republican challenger Robert Astorino and their ticket-mates also appear on specially concocted ballot lines.

The Stop Common Core party, for example, was cooked up by the GOP; the Life and Justice line will echo the Republican nominations for comptroller and attorney general; and the Women's Equality line is a Democratic concoction. Then you have the familiar minor parties -- Working Families and Independence (which are backing the statewide Democratic candidates) and Conservatives (supporting the statewide Republican hopefuls).

But wait. Before the November menu kicks in, the final size and shape of a rebellious effort inside the Democratic Party will be decided on primary day, a week from Tuesday. Zephyr Rain Teachout first had her name floated by the Democrat-wagging Working Families Party. She was poised to win its nomination until Cuomo came around to conditions that persuaded party leaders to back him.

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Teachout now is running in a Democratic primary against Cuomo with lieutenant governor candidate Tim Wu, who is challenging the Cuomo-allied Kathy Hochul. A law professor who's never run before, Teachout travels without incumbent baggage. A Cuomo-backed court effort to disqualify her from the ballot failed, giving her a few headlines and a spotlight on Cuomo's refusal to debate her.

She's appealed to Democrats vexed by current education policy, fracking and Capitol-style ethics. Entertainer Randy Credico, who's been on other election ballots, is also running in the primary.

What's the likely outcome? Eight years ago, candidate Jonathan Tasini, with little funding or name recognition, got 17 percent of the Democratic primary vote against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who refused to debate Tasini. Some operatives look to that number as a general baseline for a so-called protest candidate.

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The nooks and crannies of the November ballot also will include several Long Islanders.

Great Neck Plaza resident Tom DiNapoli is up for re-election as Democratic comptroller against GOP challenger Robert Antonacci of Syracuse. And then there are the long shots.

Real estate broker Michael McDermott of Huntington Station filed valid signatures to become the Libertarian candidate for governor (as did Sam Sloan of the Bronx). Nassau lawyer Steven Cohn runs on the Sapient Party line for governor. His running mate for lieutenant governor is party chairman Bobby Kumar Kalotee, former Nassau Independence chairman. And Greg Fischer of Calverton is running for comptroller on the Rent is 2 Damn High line, where Jimmy McMillan of New York City runs, again, for governor.

To some people, maybe, elections are just miracles waiting to happen.

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