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Long Island

Cuomo stronger on South Shore, Teachout on East End

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, right, outperformed Democratic primary

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, right, outperformed Democratic primary challenger Zephyr Teachout among Nassau's minority voters and throughout Long Island's South Shore, but she won a handful of North Shore and East End communities, according to county voting statistics. Credit: AP

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo outperformed Democratic primary challenger Zephyr Teachout among Nassau's minority voters and throughout Long Island's South Shore, but she won a handful of North Shore and East End communities, according to county voting statistics.

Cuomo defeated Teachout, a Fordham University law professor, by 65 percent to 32 percent in Nassau, a greater showing than his statewide 62 percent to 34 percent margin of victory.

In Suffolk, Cuomo won by a narrower 55-43 percent margin, which political observers say might reflect a bigger push among East End environmentalists and opponents of the state's Common Core curriculum to get out the vote for Teachout, who opposes fracking for natural gas and spoke out against the test-heavy educational standards.

Overall, however, voter turnout remained exceptionally low in both counties with 6.5 percent of eligible voters participating in Nassau and 5.4 percent in Suffolk.

"This was an impressive showing for a little-known candidate who until a few weeks ago was unrecognized by nearly 85 percent of voters," said Michael Dawidziak, a Republican political consultant, about Teachout's Long Island numbers.

But Stanley Klein, professor of political science at LIU Post and a Suffolk Republican committee member, said while Teachout "has some support on the East End from a small group of far-left liberals, the moderate Democrats, like Cuomo is, they didn't leave him."

"If she had won in Brookhaven or in Smithtown or Huntington, that would be news," Klein said. "She won in places with very small votes."

In Nassau's 10 predominantly minority voting communities -- including Hempstead, Elmont, Uniondale and Roosevelt -- Cuomo posted his highest numbers, capturing 84 percent of the collective vote. Meanwhile, Teachout won several districts in wealthier North Shore communities, including Albertson, where she won 52 percent to 43 percent, and Garden City South, where she won 55 percent to 44 percent.

Cuomo also had a strong showing in South Shore communities battered by superstorm Sandy, where the governor was a constant fixture in the weeks following the 2012 storm. Cuomo received 70.6 percent of the vote in Long Beach, 76.6 percent among Island Park voters and 70 percent in East Atlantic Beach.

Nassau Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs said Cuomo's large numbers in Nassau were likely due to his frequent appearances on Long Island during his first term in office, but said his campaign would likely need to "recalibrate" its message to win back disenchanted Democrats.

"You have to be attentive to the reasons why they didn't vote for you," Jacobs said.

Teachout's environmental platform -- such as opposing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for shale gas as an energy source -- might have given her an advantage among voters on Suffolk's East End, where she won the towns of East Hampton and Shelter Island and trailed Cuomo by small margins in Southampton and Riverhead.

Teachout beat Cuomo by 100 votes in East Hampton, receiving 307 votes to Cuomo's 207, which East Hampton Democratic Town Committee chairwoman Jeanne Frankl said might have been spurred not only by her environmental positions, but also by dissatisfaction with Cuomo's role in disbanding his anti-corruption commission.

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