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And the gold goes to . . .
If medals were given in the elections Olympics, then Kirsten Gillibrand, Tom DiNapoli and Marc Molinaro might be among the winners of gold Tuesday night.
First up, the clash of the winners.
In this contest, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo came up, well, last.
Sen. Gillibrand, Comptroller DiNapoli, and Attorney General-elect Letitia James all beat Cuomo in vote totals. Gillibrand came out on top with 3.73 million votes. The well-liked DiNapoli came up just 4,844 votes short of Gillibrand in the statewide total. Cuomo was nearly 375,000 votes behind DiNapoli.
But it was DiNapoli, a Great Neck resident, who unsurprisingly won the battle for his home turf, with about 40,000 more votes than the governor among Nassau and Suffolk voters. James, a New York City resident, got the fewest Long Island votes among statewide winners.
Cuomo did score a win on Long Island Tuesday. He beat his 2014 numbers in both counties. Cuomo got 263,019 votes in Nassau, or 55.1 percent. In Suffolk, he received 254,239 votes, 50.1 percent. Four years ago, in a race with much lower turnout, Cuomo received 168,570 votes in Nassau, or 51.6 percent; in Suffolk, it was 155,031, 46 percent.
Meanwhile, Cuomo’s opponent won the state’s loser’s prize Tuesday night, coming up with the most votes of any of the Republican candidates in statewide races. But on Long Island, state attorney general candidate Keith Wofford got his own honorable mention — for sliding in with more votes than other Republican contenders, including Molinaro.
At the bottom of the Republican contender list both on Long Island and statewide was comptroller candidate Jonathan Trichter.
Randi F. Marshall
A victory for New York Libertarians
After decades of trying, the New York Libertarian Party and candidate Larry Sharpe finally crossed the 50,000-vote threshold in Tuesday’s gubernatorial race, guaranteeing the party automatic ballot access for the next four years. The Serve America Movement managed the same feat in its very first attempt this year, with former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s name on the ballot.
Since the number of voters earned determines placement, the ballot for the next four years will be in this order: D, R, C, WFP, Green, Libertarian, Independence, SAM.
And two parties created for the 2014 campaigns that achieved automatic ballot access, the Women’s Equality Party that supported Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and the Reform Party that backed Marc Molinaro, failed to requalify. They’ll have to petition their way back onto the ballot or fade away into these two political trivia questions:
- What powerful New York politician created the WEP to get under the skin of the Working Families Party? (Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo)
- What was the original name of the Reform Party, created to highlight a single hot-button political issue in New York and get under the skin of Cuomo? (Stop Common Core)
But the bigger news in minor-party politics might be the Democratic takeover of the State Senate, and the biggest losers might be the Working Families Party, the Independence Party and the Conservatives. The leaders of these three “major” minor parties have some actual clout, but not, usually, their own candidates.
Cuomo got the WFP and the Independence Party over 50,000 this time, and Molinaro did it for the Conservatives. If those parties had to field their own candidates, as the rules require in most other states, they might fade away, too. And with Democrats running the State Senate, that change will become more likely.
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Behind the scenes on election night
An election night edition of “The Bellwether” is live online and on iTunes. Listen to the Suffolk Democrats’ Hauppauge event emceed by Democratic county leader Rich Schaffer. Neither Liuba Grechen Shirley nor Perry Gershon was able to ride a blue wave past Reps. Peter King or Lee Zeldin. Still, both challengers narrowed the gaps from 2016 and showed some of the incumbents’ vulnerabilities. Potential 2020 challengers have plenty of armchair quarterbacking ahead.