Long Island voters overwhelmingly backed Gov. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) in the Democratic and Republican primaries for governor, according to election board data in both counties.
Their victories reflected the strength of the state and county parties that endorsed and organized aggressively for Hochul and Zeldin, Nassau and Suffolk party leaders said Wednesday.
Zeldin carried 58% of the vote in Nassau and 76% of the vote in Suffolk, the home turf of the Shirley-based congressman, according to unofficial election board returns on Wednesday.
Statewide, Zeldin won the GOP primary with 43.5% of the total vote, according to unofficial state election board data.
Zeldin defeated former Trump White House aide Andrew Giuliani, who had 22.6% of the vote; former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who got 18%; and business owner Harry Wilson, who had 14.5%.
Hochul carried 61.9% of the vote in Nassau, and 68.2% in Suffolk, the data showed. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) finished second in both counties, with 30% of the vote in Nassau and 23% in Suffolk.
Statewide, Hochul had 66.5% of the vote, according to the state data. Jumaane Williams, the New York City Public Advocate, had 19%, and Suozzi had 12.8%.
Jesse Garcia, Suffolk Republican Committee chairman, told Newsday on Wednesday, "You got these machines ... oiled and ready to go, and it was like our first run-through. We got the football, and we went down the field and we scored a touchdown on the first drive."
Jay Jacobs, chairman of the state and Nassau Democratic committees, told Newsday, "I think the numbers made clear that Nassau is going to be at the forefront of this competition, and we better get the vote out and make sure we do everything we have to do to ensure a Democratic victory here. It's going to happen on Long Island."
In 2018, 22.4% of registered Democrats turned out in the primary contest between Cynthia Nixon, the actress and progressive activist, and then-Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who won his bid for a third term that year.
This year, 13.7% of registered Democrats voted in the gubernatorial primary, Nassau election officials said. The Republican turnout figure was 16.7%. There was no Republican primary for governor in 2018.
The Suffolk County Board of Elections did not provide turnout data by party on Wednesday, saying it was still being tabulated. Suffolk officials said that overall, 15% of registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday's gubernatorial primary.
In 2018, Democratic turnout in Suffolk was 21.7%.
Garcia and Suffolk Democratic chairman Rich Schaffer acknowledged that Zeldin's strong showing stemmed, in part, from a rare Republican primary for county clerk.
In Suffolk, Republican committee members were out in force to vote out Judith Pascale, the incumbent, in favor of Vincent Puleo, the town clerk in Smithtown, who had the party's backing, officials said.
"She challenged the party," Garcia said of Pascale on Wednesday. "You do not take on this party. ... This is not emotional for us, it's principled, and it's a business."
The Supreme Court decisions last week to overturn Roe v. Wade and New York's concealed-carry gun law may have brought more Democrats to the polls than leaders had anticipated, Jacobs and Schaffer said.
Suozzi's tenure as a former Nassau County executive and his representation in Congress apparently did not have its advantages.
In Nassau County, Hochul outperformed Suozzi by a margin of 2 to 1. Hochul had 32,731 votes, compared with Suozzi's 16,007.
In Suffolk, Hochul's vote total was nearly triple Suozzi's, 30,629 compared with 10,345.
Schaffer said Suozzi got "negative pretty quick." Voters, he said, "want to hear what you're going to do for them, not what you're going to do against your opponent. People are tired of that."