Newsday White House correspondent Laura Figueroa Hernandez looks at the messages Long Island voters sent the presidential candidates with some of their ballots in Tuesday's primaries. Credit: Newsday

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump won overwhelmingly in New York’s Republican primary on Tuesday, but election returns highlighted signs of disaffection that could spell trouble for Trump in November as he goes after suburban swing voters such as those on Long Island, political experts said.

Trump won statewide with 82% of the primary vote, according to unofficial state Board of Elections tallies. But 18% of GOP voters cast ballots for candidates who have suspended their campaigns: Nikki Haley, Chris Christie and Vivek Ramaswamy. Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a former South Carolina governor, won 13% of the GOP primary vote statewide.

In Nassau, Haley won 9.7% of the vote and in Suffolk she drew 9% — although Trump got 85.4% in Nassau and 87.2%, state election returns show.

But non-Trump primary voters could play a decisive role in the general election, as Trump and Biden compete in what's expected to be a tight race, political experts told Newsday.

"It should ring alarm bells for Republican strategists,” said Michael Dawidziak, a Bohemia-based Republican campaign strategist.

Dawidziak noted that Republican primary voters tend to be more conservative, and if they are casting votes opposing Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, it should raise questions about whether Trump can find enough support among moderate Republicans and independents he will need to win in battleground suburbs.

“When you look at states like New Hampshire and Iowa and South Carolina and New York ... there is a large percentage of Republican primary voters who are saying we don't want him at the top of the ticket ... It should be an area of great concern,” Dawidziak said.

“It’s clear that the suburbs will once again be decisive,” said Lawrence Levy, executive dean at Hofstra University’s Center for Suburban Studies. “So what happens in places like Nassau and Suffolk could matter. The reality is that both Trump and Biden did really well in these communities with their respective bases [in 2020]. I suppose you could use that to support a thesis that [Biden] is starting to mend the fissures in the Democratic base, and that Trump still has farther to go.”

Biden won 91.5% of the Democratic primary vote statewide Tuesday. But Marianne Williamson, a self-help author, and Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), who has suspended his campaign, won a combined 8.5%.

Biden’s percentage could change, once the state Board of Elections includes a tally of blank ballots cast. A coalition of liberal groups launched a “Leave it Blank” campaign, urging Democrats to cast blank primary ballots to protest Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war. State election officials said they won't report blank ballots until counties submit certified primary results — a process that could take weeks.

Biden could pick up some of New York’s Haley voters, said Christopher Malone, a political science professor at Farmingdale State College, who noted that analyses of earlier 2024 primaries found many Haley voters were Republicans who had voted for Biden in 2020.

“They are still registering their protests to Donald Trump through the vehicle of Nikki Haley, which is why Joe Biden, immediately after she dropped out of the race, basically released messages saying, ‘I want you, I want your vote,’ ” Malone said.

State Republican officials brushed aside concerns about non-Trump voters.

“There is nothing to see here,” David Laska, spokesman for the New York Republican Committee, said in an email to Newsday. “President Trump had already easily secured the nomination. Once Ambassador Haley suspended her campaign, our attention immediately turned to reelecting President Trump.”

Suffolk GOP chairman Jesse Garcia said he would focus on the 87% of county Republican voters who did support Trump, and believes the anti-Trump voters will vote Republican in November.

“I'm not sure what message they were sending,” Garcia said when asked about those who voted for other candidates. “Who knows? What I’m focused on is the 87% of Suffolk Republican voters who came out in the cold weather, rain and wind, to vote for a nominee that had already locked up the nomination.”

The Nassau GOP did not respond to a request for comment.

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump won overwhelmingly in New York’s Republican primary on Tuesday, but election returns highlighted signs of disaffection that could spell trouble for Trump in November as he goes after suburban swing voters such as those on Long Island, political experts said.

Trump won statewide with 82% of the primary vote, according to unofficial state Board of Elections tallies. But 18% of GOP voters cast ballots for candidates who have suspended their campaigns: Nikki Haley, Chris Christie and Vivek Ramaswamy. Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a former South Carolina governor, won 13% of the GOP primary vote statewide.

In Nassau, Haley won 9.7% of the vote and in Suffolk she drew 9% — although Trump got 85.4% in Nassau and 87.2%, state election returns show.

But non-Trump primary voters could play a decisive role in the general election, as Trump and Biden compete in what's expected to be a tight race, political experts told Newsday.

'Alarm bells' for Trump?

"It should ring alarm bells for Republican strategists,” said Michael Dawidziak, a Bohemia-based Republican campaign strategist.

Dawidziak noted that Republican primary voters tend to be more conservative, and if they are casting votes opposing Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, it should raise questions about whether Trump can find enough support among moderate Republicans and independents he will need to win in battleground suburbs.

“When you look at states like New Hampshire and Iowa and South Carolina and New York ... there is a large percentage of Republican primary voters who are saying we don't want him at the top of the ticket ... It should be an area of great concern,” Dawidziak said.

“It’s clear that the suburbs will once again be decisive,” said Lawrence Levy, executive dean at Hofstra University’s Center for Suburban Studies. “So what happens in places like Nassau and Suffolk could matter. The reality is that both Trump and Biden did really well in these communities with their respective bases [in 2020]. I suppose you could use that to support a thesis that [Biden] is starting to mend the fissures in the Democratic base, and that Trump still has farther to go.”

Possible signs of disaffection for Biden

Biden won 91.5% of the Democratic primary vote statewide Tuesday. But Marianne Williamson, a self-help author, and Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), who has suspended his campaign, won a combined 8.5%.

Biden’s percentage could change, once the state Board of Elections includes a tally of blank ballots cast. A coalition of liberal groups launched a “Leave it Blank” campaign, urging Democrats to cast blank primary ballots to protest Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war. State election officials said they won't report blank ballots until counties submit certified primary results — a process that could take weeks.

Biden could pick up some of New York’s Haley voters, said Christopher Malone, a political science professor at Farmingdale State College, who noted that analyses of earlier 2024 primaries found many Haley voters were Republicans who had voted for Biden in 2020.

“They are still registering their protests to Donald Trump through the vehicle of Nikki Haley, which is why Joe Biden, immediately after she dropped out of the race, basically released messages saying, ‘I want you, I want your vote,’ ” Malone said.

State Republican officials brushed aside concerns about non-Trump voters.

“There is nothing to see here,” David Laska, spokesman for the New York Republican Committee, said in an email to Newsday. “President Trump had already easily secured the nomination. Once Ambassador Haley suspended her campaign, our attention immediately turned to reelecting President Trump.”

Suffolk GOP chairman Jesse Garcia said he would focus on the 87% of county Republican voters who did support Trump, and believes the anti-Trump voters will vote Republican in November.

“I'm not sure what message they were sending,” Garcia said when asked about those who voted for other candidates. “Who knows? What I’m focused on is the 87% of Suffolk Republican voters who came out in the cold weather, rain and wind, to vote for a nominee that had already locked up the nomination.”

The Nassau GOP did not respond to a request for comment.

New York presidential primaries

Long Island vote totals:

Congressional District 1

Democrats:

Joe Biden: 93.5%

Marianne Williamson: 3.9%

Dean Phillips: 2.7%

Republicans:

Donald Trump: 86.2%

Nikki Haley: 9.9%

Chris Christie: 3.4%

Vivek Ramaswamy: .5%

CD 2:

Democrats:

Biden: 91.2%

Williamson: 4.9%

Phillips: 3.9%

Republicans:

Trump: 88.8%

Haley: 7.7%

Christie: 3%

Ramaswamy: .5%

CD 3: 

Democrats:

Biden: 92%

Williamson: 4%

Phillips: 4%

Republicans:

Trump: 85.6%

Haley: 9.9%

Christie: 3.8%

Ramaswamy: .7%

CD 4:

Democrats:

Biden: 93.65%

Williamson: 3.3%

Phillips: 3%

Republicans:

Trump: 85.3%

Haley: 9.6%

Christie: 4.4%

Ramaswamy: .7%

Source: New York State Board of Elections (unofficial returns)

From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book. Credit: Newsday Staff

Elisa DiStefano kick-starts summer with the Fun Book show From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book.

From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book. Credit: Newsday Staff

Elisa DiStefano kick-starts summer with the Fun Book show From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book.

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME