State and local primaries are Thursday with contests in some races that could be more consequential than November’s general election. Long Island’s Democrats will cast votes in high-profile races for governor and attorney general. For Republicans and minor party members, there are a handful of local legislative and judicial races.
Newsday has made endorsements in a few key races, either because they involve statewide offices or because they could effectively determine November’s winner. Our choices appear in full online, as well as in Newsday’s guide to the primaries. Consult them, then please vote.
Here is a summary of our 2018 primary endorsements:
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has real accomplishments, like the 2 percent property tax cap, same-sex marriage, an increased minimum wage, tough gun controls, progress on clean energy, and big infrastructure improvements like LaGuardia Airport’s rebuilding and the Long Island Rail Road’s second- and third-track projects. Democratic opponent Cynthia Nixon has good instincts on improving education, access to health care and affordable housing but her plans are unworkable or nonexistent, and she lacks executive experience. Cuomo also is pushing back on President Donald Trump’s tax code changes and attacks on civil rights and environmental and consumer protections. Newsday endorses Cuomo.
Cuomo needs a running mate who supports his policies. The state needs someone who could replace Cuomo in an emergency. That’s incumbent Kathy Hochul, who’s been steady in four years on the job, not challenger Jumaane Williams, a Cuomo heckler, who could not step into the office if needed. Newsday endorses Hochul.
All four Democratic contenders — Letitia James, Leecia Eve, Sean Patrick Maloney and Zephyr Teachout — want to continue the office’s fight against Trump and each has individual strong suits, but the most well-rounded candidate is James. New York City’s public advocate is passionate about consumer advocacy and rooting out taxpayer fraud, and she understands important Long Island issues like illegal dumping and zombie homes. Her scrappiness will be an asset, and she makes a convincing case for her independence. Newsday endorses James.
SUFFOLK SURROGATE’S COURT
This Democratic primary is all about a corrupt system of party bosses cross-endorsing candidates and denying voters of real choices. Democratic chairman Rich Schaffer’s nine-judge deal would have put a Conservative Party member in the patronage-rich surrogate’s position. Republican Tara Scully blew that up by collecting petitions to run on both lines, and now faces Democrat Theresa Whelan, who has ties to the Independence and Conservative parties. Democrats who deplore these machinations should take a stand. In addition, Scully would remove political bosses from the selection process by switching to non-partisan elections of judges. Newsday endorses Scully.
18TH STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Democrat Earlene Hooper, a 30-year incumbent, is invisible in her district, untruthful in her proclamations, and effective only for the favored few whose support has kept her in power. Challenger Taylor Raynor, 34, is smart and energetic, wants to connect with all residents and listen to their suggestions, and is ready to work to help improve the district’s three school systems. Newsday endorses Raynor.