Turnout is expected to be low for Tuesday's primaries, going by...

Turnout is expected to be low for Tuesday's primaries, going by early-voting numbers. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Daily Point

Suspense builds for how first-primary turnout will turn out

Both major parties seem to be facing strong headwinds against a robust turnout in Tuesday’s statewide primaries, with early-voting numbers less than impressive, election watchers say.

For Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Democratic primary against Zephyr Teachout in 2014, there were 592,000 votes recorded, and 1.6 million in 2018 when he beat insurgent Cynthia Nixon, noted consultant Bruce Gyory — who added that there’s no useful template for gauging what early-vote numbers imply.

This time the Democratic race for the top nomination features Gov. Kathy Hochul against two rivals, Rep. Tom Suozzi and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. On the Republican side, party designee Rep. Lee Zeldin faces Rob Astorino, Andrew Giuliani and Harry Wilson.

Early-voting turnout in Nassau County totaled 14,923, with 9,268 registered Democrats and 5,655 Republicans, according to election board numbers. In Suffolk, the overall count was 8,719, including 4,274 Democrats and 4,445 Republicans. In all of New York City for both parties, the count was 86,890, which may actually be higher than in last year’s mayoral primary, which the city’s Campaign Finance Board estimated to have about 52,000 early-primary voters.

With turnout expectations hazily pessimistic, there is discussion as to what tamps down attendance.

"Disinterest,” offered one seasoned Democratic campaign veteran from New York City. “People think that Hochul is very far ahead, which I believe she is. People aren’t aware. Put it this way: Even I had to look up, because I didn't know, if [Comptroller] Tom DiNapoli had a primary opponent. Same with [Att. Gen.] Tish James.”

Others cite the rare nature of this June primary, split off due to redistricting delays. Congressional primaries will be held Aug. 23, when voters will be asked to return for Round Two.

Suffolk is home turf for Zeldin, where he may need to maximize turnout if Giuliani, Astorino or Wilson eat into what has been a strong polling lead for some time. One Republican operative tapped into Nassau politics said he’s no fan of the younger Giuliani but sees where the first-time candidate can capitalize on Zeldin’s testy performances in debates.

At the very top of the state party hierarchies, there is reason for deep turnout worry. If GOP chairman Nick Langworthy’s candidate Zeldin fails, how well does it bode for his own Buffalo-area congressional primary in two months against the racial-epithet-spewing Donald Trump adviser Carl Paladino?

Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs faces anxiety of his own this week — in the often-overlooked lieutenant governor’s race. If Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado loses to Williams ally Ana Maria Archila, the GOP can cash in on Hochul being linked on the ticket to a left-wing radical. Traditionally, Democratic primaries favor progressives.

Low turnout always suggests volatility — and a test of which political faction really wants it more.

— Dan Janison @Danjanison

Talking Point

Trust polls, or the bets?

In the world of polling, the GOP side of the New York gubernatorial primary might be close. The most recent survey, conducted from June 15 through June 20, by WNYT-TV/Survey USA, has Rep. Lee Zeldin at 25%, former Trump staffer Andrew Giuliani at 23%, businessman Harry Wilson with 13% and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino at 8%.

But over at PredictIt, a website that sells shares of propositions and candidates for amounts from one cent to 99 cents and pays $1 a share for winners, the money is nearly all on Zeldin.

Shares of Zeldin were selling for 90 cents Monday afternoon, with Giuliani going for 8 cents, Wilson available at 2 cents, and Astorino getting no support.

And on the PredictIt comment board for that race, kibitzers are arguing over two strategies you’re just as likely to hear in the backstretch at Belmont. One camp is saying that buying the Giuliani longshot ticket at 11-1 odds is a nice play, while the folks who’d be looking for a heavily favored pony to show bet for $2 in the hopes of a dime profit think Zeldin is a sure play to return seven cents to anyone willing to wager 93 cents.

On the Democratic side, there is no conflict between the polls and prices over who will likely win the primary. Hochul shares are going for 99 cents and polls have her cruising to a win by an average of 35 points.

But in the Democratic race for lieutenant governor, there is a bit of intrigue around the chances of Ana Maria Archila, who was selling for 18 cents Monday afternoon. Antonio Delgado, Hochul’s running mate, is the clear leader at 85 cents, but Archila has some buzz and momentum. What makes that most interesting is … her running mate, Jumaane Williams, is barely registering, at 1 cent.

— Lane Filler @lanefiller

Pencil Point

A showstopper

Credit: PoliticalCartoons.com/Dave Whamond, Canada

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons

Final Point

Ambition in Baldwin

Attorney Steven Losquadro has completed the new building and zoning code that likely will govern development in downtown Baldwin. He says it might be “the most aggressive and ambitious of its kind on Long Island.”

Losquadro told The Point that the Town of Hempstead and the developers will have to follow a tight timeframe and make the process transparent. The code allows “any entity” affected by a particular application to receive notifications about what is happening.

Under the new code, once an application is deemed complete, a five-member Design Review Board will study it and make a recommendation to the town board. The final decision remains with the town board but Losquadro said he expects it to be guided by the Design Review Board’s findings.

If the Design Review Board agrees that a project meets the existing overlay zone standards and that no variances or extra environmental review is required, and if the town board concurs, the project can skip several steps and move on to a public hearing and town board vote. But even if the town board determines extra environmental review is necessary, that additional process shouldn’t take longer than about six months, according to the code.

“If they stick to the time periods that are in there, it’s not an unreasonable amount of time,” Long Island Builders Institute chief executive Mitch Pally told The Point. “We are hopeful it will lead to future development, and the other hope is this will be the guide for other communities around the town also.”

Losquadro said he met with civic association representatives as he was preparing the code and used their guidance to formulate it.

“This is a group of people who really wanted something really robust and meaningful, something that was going to bring about guaranteed action,” Losquadro said. “You’re going to have a process here now that’s going to guarantee very effective and very expeditious change from a development process.”

Losquadro’s work on the new code came after Hempstead attempted to install a moratorium on development in Baldwin. But in response to pushback, the town instead decided to hire Losquadro as outside counsel to evaluate and rewrite the code. Losquadro said the previous code was problematic in how it dealt with the state environmental review process and that his revisions fixed prior concerns.

“It’s cleaner, it’s tighter, there’s more transparency, there’s more accountability,” Losquadro said.

The town board is expected to hold a public hearing on the code on July 19 and could approve it then.

— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall