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Meet the hopefuls
The big-ticket New York State governor and attorney general races as well as control of the State Senate may be dominating the attention of voters but there are a few under-the-radar Assembly primaries happening on Long Island.
In Nassau’s Assembly District 20, Democrats Juan Vides and John Vobis Jr. are facing off to see who will go against incumbent Republican Melissa Miller, a first-term representative of Long Beach, Oceanside and Five Towns, in November. Vides immigrated to New York from El Salvador with his family when he was 4 years old and now owns a business here. Vobis worked for 17 years as a court officer before becoming a lawyer. Both are involved in community groups.
The Nassau County Democratic Committee endorsed Vobis in May because his legal credentials gave him a “better shot” at getting elected against Miller, according to party chairman Jay Jacobs, who added that Miller has the edge in this race despite it being a Democratic district because she is well-liked in the community. Vides’ campaign is accusing the party of backing the conventional candidate, arguing that “the people don’t need a lawyer” and “are tired of the same old thing.”
Nassau Democrats did back newcomer Taylor Raynor in LI’s only other Democratic Assembly primary against the entrenched incumbent Earlene Hooper. Read the editorial board’s full thoughts on Raynor and that District 18 race here.
In District 17, Republican James Coll is going up against incumbent John Mikulin, who won an April special election to fill the seat vacated by Thomas McKevitt when he joined the Nassau County Legislature. Coll, a retired NYPD officer, is not endorsed by the Nassau County Republican Committee, while Mikulin, a deputy attorney for the Town of Hempstead, checks all the party loyalty boxes.
In Suffolk, the possibility of a GOP primary in the North Fork’s district has been chaotic. After Republican Mike Yacubich filed petitions to primary incumbent Anthony Palumbo, Suffolk’s two election commissioners and a State Supreme Court justice disqualified him on the grounds the petitions were filed under the name “Mike” instead of his full name. But State Appellate Division reversed the decision, finding that he did not intend to mislead voters and restored him to the primary ballot.
Lt. Governors, past and present
As New Yorkers hit the polls Thursday for primary elections, they’ll find a lot of names on the ballot competing for voter consideration — especially with heated races for governor and attorney general.
But aside from the marquee races — including the contest between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and newcomer Cynthia Nixon — there are sleeper races like the one between incumbent Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Democratic challenger Jumaane Williams, a New York City Council member who is Nixon’s running mate. Hochul, who is running on the ticket with Cuomo, is leading Williams, 43-21 percent, according to Siena College’s poll.
While the office of lieutenant governor might seem obscure to most voters, the position can — and has — played a crucial role in state politics. Here are three facts about the office to think about as you head to the polls.
- David Paterson is the most recent lieutenant governor to succeed an elected governor during his term in office. Paterson, who was elected alongside Eliot Spitzer in 2006, succeeded Spitzer when he resigned in 2008 following a sex scandal involving a prostitute. Paterson is one of only seven New York State lieutenant governors to succeed to the role of governor since the office was established in 1777.
- Several politicians have successfully used the office as a steppingstone. In total, 10 former lieutenant governors have been elected to the office of governor, with the most recent being Mario Cuomo.
- New York’s lieutenant governor primary is among the most confusing on the ballot, since the lieutenant governor and the governor run on separate ballots in the primary. In the past, this has led to some strange partnerships, particularly among opponents Mario Cuomo and Alfred DelBello in 1982. DelBello originally ran alongside Ed Koch as lieutenant governor, but because of the separate ballots, DelBello advanced to the general election, while Koch lost to Cuomo.
A different kind of blue wave
Hillary Clinton is scheduled to headline a Manhattan fundraiser for congressional challenger Liuba Grechen Shirley and four other first-time female Democratic candidates Wednesday evening.
It’s an interesting show of support given that Grechen Shirley is going up against Rep. Pete King, who has historically enjoyed strong ties to the Clintons.
The Seaford Republican was one of the few House Republicans to vote against President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998. He also worked closely with the president on the North Ireland peace process.
That relationship has at times worked to King’s political advantage. In 2006, for example, President Clinton stumped on Long Island for state and local candidates but never mentioned King’s Democratic opponent, Nassau Legis. Dave Mejias, according to Newsday.
In King’s 2002 novel, “Deliver Us From Evil,” the congressman’s alter-ego, Long Island congressman Sean Cross, tells Clinton, “You’re my friend.”
Some things don’t last forever, and perhaps Hillary Clinton has charted her own path. King was far from a Clinton supporter in 2016, and earlier this year she supported Grechen Shirley’s push to use campaign funds to pay for child care. (Grechen Shirley’s campaign, for the record, says she voted for Clinton in the 2016 primary.)
Now the former Democratic presidential nominee will raise money for the Amityville challenger, too. The event is hosted by fashion executive Lauren Santo Domingo. A copy of the invitation, paid for by The Arena Candidate PAC House Victory Fund, says some tickets are available for $1,000 but most start at $5,000.