Because of the busy day we had yesterday we’re re-upping the preview of today’s races in case you haven’t seen it.
Tomorrow is the second-busiest election day of the fall. New York City is the star of the show, with all major city offices up. But there are also 5 other big mayoral elections in Charlotte, Cleveland, Toledo, Buffalo, and Rochester, plus a number of other local elections across New York State and legislative specials in Oklahoma and Mississippi. Poll closing times are as follows: NC & OH – 7:30 ET || MS & OK – 8 ET || NYS – 9ET. Our Liveblog will start tomorrow at 7:30 ET. The Mayoral races are above the fold – flip over for County Executive, DA, Sheriff, and NYC Council races!
NYC-Mayor (D): The big race tomorrow, albeit a drama-free one, is the partisan primary for Mayor of New York City. New York City is of course the nation’s largest city by far, with a population of 8.5M, and extensive home-rule powers without equal among American cities. As a result, the Mayor of New York is really more like the nation’s 51st Governor than any other Mayor, and fittingly it is elected in traditional partisan races. NYC is, of course, solidly Democratic: it has a PVI of D+29 (2016) and a multi-ethnic population that breaks down roughly 45% White, 20% each Hispanic and Black, and 10% Asian.
Incumbent Bill de Blasio (D) is seeking a second term. If you’re reading this blog you probably don’t need me to recount the various trials and tribulations of DeBlasio’s mayoralty, but DeBlasio’s four years in office have been a mixture of some high-profile embarrassments and failures: a significant rise in homeless living on the streets, poor response to snowstorms, massive maintenance problems with the subway, small up tick in crime and a crazy vendetta against the Central Park horse carriage system. DeBlasio has also been the focus of an expanding investigation into his campaign finance operation, specifically a scheme to funnel money to state candidates, but so far that investigation has not borne significant fruit. Additionally, like many of his predecessors, DeBlasio transparently harbors higher ambitions, but in this case that may be working to his benefit. Through his term, he has never hesitated to use his position to cast himself as a national left-wing hero – and in that respect the election of Trump was an enormous gift to him. Instead of getting a seriously contested race on his vulnerabilities as an administrator, DeBlasio’s use of the bully pulpit to preach left-wing causes (and prepare for a 2020 Presidential run) has largely insulated him from a viable primary challenge.
All “A” and “B” list Dem candidates surprisingly declined to take on DeBlasio, leaving just one even remotely serious Democrat running against him. That rival is 90s-era ex-city councilman Sal Albanese (D). Albanese represented Brooklyn’s middle-class Bay Ridge area in the 80s and 90s before losing a 1997 mayoral primary. Albanese left politics before reappearing to make an asterisk-level run in the 2013 mayoral primary. This year, Albanese was able to raise enough to force DeBlasio to debate. But few voters remember Albanese’s fight for left-wing progressive policies during the Giuliani administration and his lower-middle-class white-ethnic persona is a poor fit for the city’s Democrats, so he seems likely to draw only protest votes – I would guess at most drawing a third of the vote. However, Albanese’s vote share could be a good indicator of generic anti-DeBlasio Democratic sentiment that might indicate to 2021 aspirants whether to start running toward or away from the DeBlasio legacy.
An equally easy challenge for DeBlasio awaits in the general from State Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R). Malliotakis is considered a rising star on NYC’s thin GOP bench, ousting a Democratic incumbent from a purple Staten Island and Brooklyn district in 2010. Due to her youth (she is 37), Greek-Cuban background, and proven political skills, she is considered likely to climb the ladder at some point, topping lists of potential successors for Staten Island’s State Senate and Congressional seats when they come open; this mayoral run is most likely about banking name rec for a bid of that nature down the line. However, Malliotakis is not independently wealthy and has little pre-existing name recognition, meaning her chances to outperform the Generic R baseline this year (especially to the level needed to be competitive in ultra-blue NYC) are slim.
A sideshow in the general is retired detective and Arby’s pitchman Bo Dietl (I), who was laughed out of a GOP primary bid before continuing a non-serious campaign as an Indie; he will likely take a few percentage points of anti-DeBlasio votes from Malliotakis. All in all, DeBlasio remains on course to a depressingly easy re-election. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D.
Charlotte-Mayor (D): The second-biggest election today is the partisan primaries for Mayor of Charlotte. Charlotte is America’s 17th-largest city; it has a population just shy of 850K that breaks down as roughly 50% White, 35% Black, and 10% Hispanic. It had a PVI of D+13 (2008), though it has probably trended left since then. Charlotte proper covers all of both the urban and first-ring suburban portions of its metro area, making it among the nation’s most diverse cities from a socioeconomic standpoint. The city is roughly circular and might be best thought of as divided into four pie slices of north, south, east and west. The southern quarter of the city is quite wealthy and was staunchly Republican until 2016. The northern and western quarters are mostly black, with poorer areas near downtown and black-middle-class areas along the edges. The eastern quarter is racially very diverse, again with poorer areas near downtown and middle-class areas farther out. In today’s Mayoral race, five Democrats are running, but only three are serious; if no one cracks 40%, the top two finishers will head to a runoff in four weeks.
Incumbent Jennifer Roberts (D) won her first term two years ago, and has had a tumultuous first term as mayor. Roberts had been a mainstream to moderate liberal in her prior role on the county commission, but she has recast herself as a staunch progressive in the mayor’s office. Her brief tenure has been marked by a long-running clash with the state legislature over the city’s bill to regulate transgender bathroom use, which triggered the national brouhaha over the state’s HB2. The incident estranged Roberts from the council, as she was an advocate of continuing the standoff when the council ultimately negotiated a settlement with the legislature, and that dynamic has contributed to a poor working relationship. Additionally, Charlotte was hit by riots last year in response to a police shooting, for which Roberts was criticized for a lackluster response. Roberts is seeking to win a second term by coalescing the liberal base and harnessing her name recognition; her best shot at a win is probably by clearing the 40% mark and avoiding a potentially perilous runoff with one of her two more moderate rivals. But her tenure has been controversial enough that even being boxed out of a runoff is a possibility. City councilwoman Vi Lyles (D) is somewhat more centrist than Roberts; overall Lyles, a longtime council veteran, is a mainstream black establishment liberal. More than ideology though, the main difference between the two is temperament. Lyles is considered much more easygoing than Roberts and has a better relationship with the council; as a result, she has received significant establishment support. Lyles has also garnered the endorsement of the Charlotte Observer. Her inoffensive nature leaves Lyles in a good position to win a runoff if one occurs; however, her low-energy style and lack of a committed base could leaver her boxed out in the first round. State Sen. Joel Ford (D) is the most centrist candidate in the field. Ford is a moderate Democrat, particularly on social issues. That has given him bipartisan support, even receiving donations from several Republicans in the legislature – were this a non-partisan race, he would be well-positioned to win GOP votes. Within the Dem party though, he still has a strong base in the black community, particularly among more middle-class blacks, and name recognition from representing a quarter of the city in the legislature. Roberts would most likely prefer to face Ford in a runoff and make the race a referendum on her socially liberal views. Two other non-serious Democrats are running and could serve to lower the odds of anyone cracking 40%. Overall each of the three candidates has a chance to advance to a runoff – or even to crack 40% and win outright – and any winner or pairing shouldn’t be particularly surprising.
The Dem primary winner will head on to a November general election with city councilman Kenny Smith (R), who faces two non-serious Some Dudes in his primary. Smith is a conservative from the wealthy southern part of the city, and is clearly to the right of most candidates Republicans have put up for the seat in recent years. Thus, due to the lean of the city, he is generally considered a long-shot to beat any of the Democrats. However, he is definitely a credible candidate, outpacing all the Democrats in fundraising, and could have a small chance to win, particularly if Roberts is renominated. More likely though is that Smith may be someone to watch for a state legislature or NC-9 campaign in the future.
Cleveland-Mayor: Cleveland is America’s 51st-largest city, with a population of 385K that breaks down roughly 50% Black and 40% White. It has a PVI of D+33 (2008). Cleveland has a split personality between its two halves: the eastern half of the city is overwhelmingly black and generally very poor (the gentrified urban areas of the east side near Case University almost entirely sit outside the city limits), while the western half of the city is mostly lower-middle-class blue-collar white areas, with some Hispanic pockets. The mayoral primary is today in a California-Rules Top Two format. Incumbent Frank Jackson (D) is seeking a fourth term. Jackson, a moderate liberal, has been fairly popular as mayor, winning fairly easy re-elections in 2009 and 2013. His position as an African-American from the east side with significant crossover appeal to west side whites has left him hard to challenge. But this year, Jackson dabbled with retirement before deciding to run again, and that seems to have opened up the floodgates for challengers. He now faces eight challengers, seven of them notable. Overall Jackson should be a lock to come in first, but how strong his showing is may determine how contentious the race in November becomes. Three east side black candidates are taking on Jackson from the left. City councilman Jeff Johnson (D) is considered the slight front-runner among Jackson’s challengers, particularly due to his strong support from the SEIU. Johnson is on the second act of his political career; his prior tenure on the council and State Senate ended in the late 90s with a conviction and 15-month sentence for shaking down convenience store owners. Though Ohio law prohibits those convicted of bribery from holding office, Johnson was able to return to the city council through a ridiculous loophole: he was convicted of extortion, not bribery (world of difference, right!). City councilman Zack Reed (D) is similarly a biting critic of Jackson from the left. However, he trails Johnson in labor support, and like Johnson he has his own legal history to deal with in the form of three DUIs. Reed’s campaign has been energetic and he could make the second slot, or he and Johnson could bump heads and allow a more centrist candidate to come in second. The third candidate on the left, Eric Brewer (D), who previously served as mayor of the slumburb of East Cleveland, is staking out a claim as the farthest left candidate in the field and strikes some black-nationalist themes; he is a longer-shot. Four other candidates are centrist or center-right. State Rep. and 2009 candidate Bill Patmon (D) was a city councilman in the 90s. After a string of losses in the 2000s, he was able to make a comeback by winning a safe State House seat, representing a big chunk of the east side, in 2010. Patmon, who is black, is a moderate, but mostly notable as a gadfly; his campaign is not very serious, but he could take second on name rec. Nonprofit exec Brandon Chrostowski (I) has a very interesting story: he runs a well-regarded French restaurant that doubles as a job-training program for ex-cons. Chrostowski is running on a centrist platform and his fundraising has been enough to be credible. Two Republicans are also in the race. Businessman Tony Madalone (R) runs a T-shirt company, and at age 32 has rising-star potential. As the most serious right-of-center candidate, he may have some chance to make the runoff based on conservative votes. However, Madalone’s chances to advance are complicated by another Republican, 2009 candidate and nonprofit exec Robert Kilo (R), who has surprisingly fundraised enough to be a factor, but whose staunch conservatism is a poor fit for the deep-blue city. A non-serious Some Dude is also in the race. Overall any of the seven have some chance to advance with Jackson, with Johnson and Reed having the best shots. However, all will probably face an uphill race in November unless Jackson seriously underperforms.
Toledo-Mayor: Toledo is America’s 71st-largest city, with a population of 275K that breaks down as roughly 65% White and 25% Black. It has a PVI of D+21 (2008). Toledo remains mostly a blue-collar white city, with some working- and middle-class black neighborhoods near the center of town. Like Cleveland, it is using a California-Rules Top Two format for its mayoral primary. There are three serious candidates, two Dems and one Republican. Incumbent Paula Hicks-Hudson (D) won a special election in 2015 after being appointed to fill a vacancy. Hicks-Hudson is a mainstream black liberal. Her base in the black community, incumbency, and Dem establishment support were enough for her to win a plurality in the fractured, winner-take-all 2015 contest, and CW is that she is likely to come in first again tomorrow. However, she has been hit for continuing problems with the city’s water system, and this year’s race, in which a majority will be eventually necessary, may be tougher for her. Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz (D) is Hicks-Hudson’s better-funded rival. Kapszukiewicz is a blue-collar type moderate liberal who has been best known for importing Michigan’s Land Bank concept (in which the county confiscates distressed tax-delinquent properties, knocks them down, and re-sells the land). Kapszukiewicz is likely to have a base of white Democrats, but he risks being boxed out by his rivals’ more coherent bases. Councilman Tom Waniewski (R) is the third candidate in the race. Waniewski represents a middle-class suburban area on the northwest side, and is a mainstream to moderate conservative. He has been underfunded relative to Kapszukiewicz, but he does have a ready-made base of Republicans and voters in his council district. A perennial candidate is also running. Overall the CW seems to be betting on Hicks-Hudson and Kapszukiewicz advancing, but the three candidates seem relatively evenly-matched and it’s very possible for Waniewski to box out either. Any candidate getting more than about 40% here would be at least a mild surprise, and regardless of the pairing most expect the general to be competitive.
Buffalo-Mayor (D): Buffalo has a population of 255K that breaks down as roughly 50% White, 35% Black, and 10% Hispanic. It has a PVI of D+28 (2008). The city can be thought of as divided into 3 equal pie slices away from downtown; the southeastern part of the city is lower-middle-class blue-collar whites, the northeastern part of the city is largely poor blacks, and the northwestern part of the city is a diverse mix of some multi-ethnic poor neighborhoods, some lower-middle class white areas, and some more upscale white areas. Incumbent Byron Brown (D) is seeking a fourth term. Brown is a mainstream liberal who has been considered a rising star in Dem circles; he was even considered a short-lister for the Senate appointment that went to Sen. Kirsten Gillirband (D). As Mayor, Brown has been reasonably successful in slowing the city’s decline. He has built an electoral alliance of black voters and upscale whites, with crossover support from blue-collar whites, that has been powerful in a Democratic primary – and only seems to be getting moreso as downscale whites slowly defect to the GOP. As a result, he retains establishment support and is a strong favorite for re-election, though he faces two challengers from left and right. City comptroller Mark Schroeder (D) is Brown’s more serious rival. Schroeder is a moderate Democrat who is popular among his southside base. He was considered likely to give Brown a strong challenge, but it hasn’t really panned out that way; Brown has some crossover support among the blue-collar voters that would be Schroeder’s base and there is little sense that Schroeder has appeal to blacks or upscale voters. As a result, he is considered likely to finish well behind Brown. The third candidate in the race is county commissioner Betty Jean Grant (D). Grant has a strong base among liberals in the black community, one that allowed her to come within 200 votes of winning a State Senate seat in a 2012 primary. However, her campaign is running on a shoestring budget and her appeal outside of the black community is low, so Grant is likely to finish a distant third. A recent poll had Brown securing an outright majority of the vote, so it would be a shock to say the least if either Schroeder or Grant could even come close, let alone defeat him. Republicans are not contesting this seat after their prior nominee dropped out.
Rochester, NY-Mayor (D): Rochester has a population of 210K that breaks down as roughly 45% White, 35% Black, and 15% Hipanic. It has a PVI of D+29 (2008). Rochester is shaped like a “6”; much of the central part of the city is taken up by the “Fatal Crescent” of poor, high-crime, black-plurality neighborhoods wrapping around the north and west sides of downtown. The remaining southeast quarter is mostly upscale urban white areas, and the city also has a small northwest tail of middle-class white suburbs. Incumbent Lovely Warren (D) won her first term in 2013 in a shocking upset by galvanizing minority and left-wing voters against the prior incumbent. Warren has been a staunch liberal in office, and her tenure has not had any particularly glaring failures. But there is a general sense that the city’s slow decline has continued unabated. Furthermore, while Warren has significant establishment ties and received the official party endorsement, there is a large bloc of more moderate Democrats that has never warmed to her. Monroe County commissioner James Sheppard (D), a former city police chief, is Warren’s main competitor. Sheppard is a more moderate liberal and was supported by the faction of the party that backed Warren’s predecessor. Historically there has been, a major divide between the black and white establishments in Rochester; while both Sheppard and Warren are of African-American descent, most of Warren’s establishment backers are black and most of Sheppard’s establishment backers are white. A third wheel in the race is former TV anchor and 2016 State House candidate Rachel Barnhart (D). Barnhart challenged an incumbent in a 2016 State House primary, which did not endear her to the local establishment, but she does have high name recognition and a base in the white liberal community as the most progressive candidate. She is considered something of a long-shot, but may draw a significant number of votes. It’s unclear who Barnhart hurts more; while Warren is the more left-wing candidate, Sheppard seems to have more white support, so defections to Barnhart may wind up being close to a wash. A fourth non-serious Democrat is also running. Overall, the significant split in establishment support means that there is no clear favorite between Warren and Sheppard. Amazingly enough, this year Republicans are putting up their first credible candidate in memory for this race. County commissioner Tony Micciche (R) represents the suburban northwest tail of the city. Micciche is a credible candidate but likely stands little chance against any of the Democrats barring a DGLB; the bid is probably more about gaining name rec for a countywide, legislative, or congressional run down the line.
State Legislative Special Elections: There are 3 legislative specials this week: one Louisiana-Rules Top Two race, one general, and one primary. The general is for OK-LD-46, an R+6 (2016) seat covering western Norman. Businessman and professor Darrin Chambers (R) and 2016 nominee Jacob Rosencrants (D) are facing off; due to Dems’ strong streak in special elections recently, especially in Oklahoma, I would consider Rosencrants a slight favorite to pick up the seat. The primary is for OK-SD-37, an R+21 (2016) seat covering the suburban southwestern part of Tulsa west of the Arkansas River and the suburb of Sand Springs. 7 Republicans are facing off. Rep. Jim Bridenstine staffer and ex-Jenks city councilman Brian O’Hara (R), local judge Jay McAtee (R), Sand Springs councilman and 2016 candidate Brian Jackson (R), manager Phil Nollan (R), husband of a sitting State Rep., local GOP official Nicole Nixon (R), and two Some Dudes. I would peg O’Hara as the slight front-runner, but any of the five I named have a chance to win. The primary winner will face Dem activist Allison Ikley-Freeman (D) in a November general. There is also a Louisiana Rules Top Two race for MS-LD-102, an R+9 (2008) seat covering the western part of Hattiesburg. Democrats have gone all-in on this race for social worker Kathryn Rehner (D), who is likely to finish first. She faces three Republicans, former congressional staffer Missy McGee (R), attorney Corey Ferraez (R), and retired civil servant Casey Mercier (R); McGee looks like the slight front-runner among the Republicans. It seems like a coin-flip whether Rehner can flip the seat tomorrow or whether the race will head to a runoff.
Flip over for other County-level and NYC Races!
Nassau-CE (D): Nassau County covers a swath of central Long Island and remains the archetypal microcosm of American suburbia. While mostly middle-class suburbs, it does have some poorer pockets, particularly in Hempstead and Freeport, and some very wealthy pockets along the North Shore. Nassau has a population of 1.3M and a PVI of D+2 (2016), though one can not talk about Nassau without mentioning its legendary Republican Machine (side note: THIS is among the best pieces of political writing ever. If you haven’t read it do so.) For generations Nassau County has been dominated by a machine of hackish RINOs who have held onto power at all (figurative and literal) cost. The County Executive’s job is open this year after incumbent Ed Mangano (R), as archetypal a Nassau machine hack as they come, was indicted on corruption charges. Democrats are enthusiastic about their chances to take the seat back (though, it should be said that they were also enthusiastic about beating Mangano in 2013, which ended in a surprisingly easy Mangano victory). This year, two Democrats are facing off. Somewhat improbably, county commissioner Laura Curran (D) is the machine choice. Curran has been a mainstream liberal on the commission, but has been on mediocre terms with the local machine, which is why her endorsement over several more established candidates was a minor surprise. Curran is running as a relatively generic liberal along a similar reformist mantle as the one that worked for Tom Suozzi (D) in his 2001 victory. Due to her machine backing, Curran is the clear favorite in the Democratic primary. It helps that her lone rival to continue on to the primary ballot is R-turned-D County Comptroller George Maragos (D). Maragos was a placeholder nominee who got swept in on Mangano’s coattails in 2009 and promptly began looking for ways to move up, launching a pair of quixotic Senate campaigns in 2010 and 2012 and demonstrating questionable-at-best campaign skills. Maragos abruptly switched parties when Mangano’s prosecution looked imminent, which has not endeared him to the local Dem machine. However, Maragos does have one asset: personal funds, which have allowed him (unlike Curran) to run TV ads. Thus, the possibility of an upset can not be entirely discounted. Waiting in the general is ex-State Sen. and 2016 NY-3 nominee Jack Martins (R). Martins, a well-regared former Mineola mayor and State Senator from a purple seat, is considered a strong nominee for the GOP, though his congressional run last year fell flat amid anti-Trump sentiment in his upscale district. Martins will have strong machine backing, which is a double-edged sword as it also allows him to be tied to Mangano. Overall this general looks likely to be highly competitive.
Westchester-CE (D): Westchester County covers much of NYC’s northern suburbs between the Hudson River and Long Island Sound. It is wealthy for the most part and the bulk of the county consists of some of the nation’s most upscale suburbs. However, it also includes some poor urban areas in Yonkers, New Rochelle, and Mount Vernon, among others, and a few scattered more lower-middle-class pockets. It has a population of 975K and has been trending left for some time, reaching a PVI of D+16 (2016). Incumbent Rob Astorino (R) won this seat in a considerable upset in 2009. Astorino is a staunch conservative by the standards of the NYC suburbs, but his tenure as county executive has proven successful, especially in his favorable resolution of a long-running fight between the county and HUD over affordable housing options. Astorino has been considered a rising star in broader GOP circles, especially after an easy win over a credible rival in 2013. He received the GOP nomination for Governor in 2014 and is seen as certain to consider a second bid against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in 2018. That position as a potential Cuomo rival, as well as strong anti-Trump sentiment in the county, has led Democrats to become more enthusiastic about taking him out this year. State Sen. George Latimer (D) is the Democratic establishment choice to take on Astorino. Latimer, a mainstream liberal, is considered a strong candidate, as he has won several tough elections and locked down a purple State Senate seat. Otherwise he is a relatively generic Democrat, which might pose some problems in the primary if Democrats see room to his left. County commissioner Ken Jenkins (D), who represents the poor urban part of Yonkers, is Latimer’s rival. Jenkins has a base in the black community to build off of, and while he can not match Latimer’s establishment support he does have support from a significant number of establishment figures. Jenkins is to Latimer’s left; however, the differences between the two ideologically are very slight and it’s unlikely that progressives go to Jenkins en masse. As a result Latimer’s stronger establishment support leaves him looking like a moderate favorite in the primary, though an upset by Jenkins may be possible. With either as the nominee, the general with Astorino is likely to be hotly contested.
Rensselaer-CE (R): Rensselaer County covers the city of Troy and the middle-class eastern suburbs of the Albany metro area; it has a population of 160K and a PVI of R+2 (2016); however, the county has a strong Republican heritage and Democrats have rarely mounted serious campaigns for this seat. State Rep. Steve McLaughlin (R) is the best-known contender for the seat. A firebrand conservative, McLaughlin explored runs for multiple offices in the last few years without pulling the trigger. He has also used his powerless State House minority seat as a bully pulpit for scathing criticism of Gov. Cuomo. Needless to say, this profile has not endeared him to the moderate and transactional local machine. Chris Meyer (R), CoS to the prior incumbent, is the establishment choice and has the official party endorsement. Meyer is the handpicked successor of the outgoing incumbent, and his tight ties to the local establishment have proven valuable in this race, lapping McLaughlin in fundraising. However, he is up against a tougher opponent than most establishment choices in NYS, and McLaughlin’s grassroots appeal likely makes him the slight favorite in the primary. The race has become very nasty, with late allegations from one of McLaughlin’s staffers that he roughed her up. Those allegations and his establishment support means that Meyer should not be counted out. Democrats are running nonprofit exec Andrea Smyth (D), who seems a step above “Some Dude” caliber but has been getting significant new attention due to the nasty primary between Meyer and McLaughlin. Smyth would likely prefer to face McLaughlin, who may have trouble getting crossover support, than the generically hackish Meyer.
Two other County Executive races in New York don’t have seriously contested primaries but are worth a mention. Rockland-CE is for the top job in a D+2 (2016) county of 325K in the northwest NYC suburbs. Incumbent Ed Day (R), who is relatively popular but controversial for efforts to resolve the county’s crippling land-use and population-growth issues around the burgeoning Hasidim population, is favored for a second term over attorney Maureen Porette (D), who seems “C” list. Just to the north, Orange-CE is for the top job in an R+4 (2016) county of 375K stretching from Newburgh to Middletown, covering a mix of small towns and exurbs. Incumbent Steve Neuhaus (R) is favored for a second term over consultant Patrick Davis (D).
NYC Row Offices & Borough Presidents: For NYC-Public Advocate, NYC’s equivalent to a Lieutenant Governor, Incumbent Tish James (D), a stauch leftist who thankfully holds a basically powerless position, is the prohibitive favorite for a second term over token opposition from professor David Eisenbach (D). She will face token opposition from professor and elections board member JC Polanco (R) in the general. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D. For NYC-Comptroller, incumbent Scott Stringer (D) was considered a potential DeBlasio primary challenger, but he wound up deciding to run for a second term. Stringer faces no primary opponents and will face token general election opposition from former congressional candidate and minister William Faulkner (R). RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D. All 5 Borough Presidents (Republican James Oddo on Staten Island and 4 Democrats across the rest of the city) are running for re-election and face no threatening primary or general election opposition. Just one challenger, nightclub owner Vito Bruno (R), who is running against Brooklyn’s Eric Adams (D), is at all serious; while Bruno won’t win, he may be someone to watch for in a lower South Brooklyn office campaign down the line.
Brooklyn-DA (D): Two boroughs of New York City are holding DA Elections this year as well. The competitive race is in Brooklyn, which has a population of 2.6M and a PVI of D+30 (2016). Six Democrats are facing off for the seat. Appointed incumbent Eric Gonzalez (D) was a career prosecutor who took over the top job in the office late last year when his prior boss, Ken Thompson, died of colon cancer. Gonzalez has continued Thompson’s liberal priorities of going softer on drug use and immigration enforcement. Gonzalez also has secured most establishment backing and thus looks like the clear favorite for a full term. However, he faces five rivals. Cuomo admin official Pat Gatling (D) looks like Gonzalez’s most serious rival. Gatling has a base in the black community and is thought to be implicitly backed by more moderate elements in the borough’s Democratic party loyal to Thompson’s predecessor. City councilman Vincent Gentile (D) may have the strongest organic base due to his 20-year career in state and city elected office from the Bay Ridge neighborhood; however, his appeal to other parts of the borough seems likely to be limited. Also in the race are a trio of prosecutors, Ama Dwimoh (D), Marc Fliedner (D), and Anne Swern (D), the latter also a Dem official. All three are serious and will probably draw a few percent but seem like long-shots to actually win. All in all the split field works to Gonzalez’s benefit and it would be a surprise for him not to come out on top. However, it would also be a surprise if Gonzalez mustered anything more than a weak plurality in such a crowded field. The other DA race is unexciting; incumbent Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. (D) is totally unopposed for a third term.
Suffolk, NY-Sheriff (R): Suffolk County is also holding its Sheriff primary today. Suffolk County covers the eastern half of Long Island; it has a population of around 1.5M and a PVI of R+4 (2016). State Sen. Phil Boyle (R) has party establishment support and is considered the strong front-runner for the open seat. However, Republicans are concerned about his State Senate seat should he step down, which could emperil the NY Senate GOP’s fragile majority. Consequently, there is strong pressure for Boyle to step down from the Senate after the primary so that the Senate special could be consolidated with the higher-turnout November general. Tomorrow, Boyle is heavily favored over university police chief Larry Zacarese (R), who has some support on an antiestablishment conservative platform (including an endorsement from Rudy) but can’t match Boyle’s local machine backing. Democrats appear to not be contesting this seat after their prior contender dropped out.
Oklahoma, OK-Sheriff: Oklahoma County, OK is also holding a special general for its Sheriff today. Oklahoma County covers the bulk of the OKC metro area and has a PVI of R+6 (2016). PD Taylor (R), deputy to the prior Democratic incumbent who has served as acting Sheriff for most of the year, is favored to serve out the term over cop Mike Hanson (D), but given Dem enthusiasm in Oklahoma there’s always a slight possibility of low turnout leading to a freak upset.
Thanks so much to cinyc for calculating the presidential results for the council districts – full results can be found in the awesome diary HERE. The NYC Council is 48-3 Democratic, with 2 safely Republican seats and about 6 theoretically competitive districts. All primaries previewed here are Democratic and all races here are Safe for the D nominee in the general unless otherwise noted. All PVIs are for 2016.
NYC-CD-1 is an Asian-plurality D+34 seat covering most of Manhattan below Houston St. Incumbent Margaret Chin (D) is facing off with three challengers, attorney Aaron Foldenauer (D), artist Dashia Imperiale (D) and banker Christopher Marte (D), who have criticized Chin for some pro-development moves. Marte looks like the most serious of the challengers, but vote-splitting between the three challengers and her base in the Asian community probably leaves Chin the favorite.
NYC-CD-2 is an open D+38 seat covering most of the East Village. Six Democrats are facing off; council staffer Carlina Rivera (D) appears to be the front-runner as she has the WFP line and the most establishment backing. However, all of her five rivals, Obama admin official Ronnie Cho (D), attorneys Mary Silver (D), Jorge Vasquez (D), and Erin Hussein (D), and legislative staffer Jasmin Sanchez (D), seem serious enough to have a shot at the upset. Rivera has generated some controversy for living in government subsidized Section 8 housing for low-income residents despite the fact that her wealthy husband has a small family trust and an apartment which he owns on Grand Street and rents out for a profit.
NYC-CD-4 is an open D+29 seat covering most of the Upper East Side from 5th Avenue to Lexington and the East Side between 34th and 59th streets as well. This council district includes Trump Tower and the winner gets the honor of being the President of the United States’ city councilman. Nine Democrats are running. Community board member and local Dem official Martha Speranza (D) looks like the slight front-runner as she has raised the most and has the most establishment backing. Six others, legislative staffers Bessie Schacter (D) and Keith Powers (D), council staffer Jeff Mailman (D), PR exec Rachel Honig (D), teacher Vanessa Aronson (D), and businessman Alec Hartman (D), all seem serious enough to have a chance at the upset, while two more candidates seem less serious. This silk stocking district seat was a Republican seat in the 1990s. Republican Andrew Eristoff (who is currently serving as Treasurer for the State of New Jersey) represented this seat 20 years ago. Since then the seat has become solidly Democrat.
NYC-CD-5 is a D+31 seat covering most of the Upper East Side east of Lexington. Incumbent Ben Kallos (D) is favored over engineer and far-left activist Patrick Bobilin (D) and perennial candidate Gwen Goodwin (D). In the 1990s a Republican held this seat and the GOP could be competitive here. 20 years later it is solidly Democrat.
NYC-CD-6 is a D+38 seat covering the Upper West Side below 96th street. Incumbent Helen Rosenthal (D) is facing a tough rematch with 2013 candidate Mel Wymore (D), whom she defeated 27-22 for the open seat four years ago. With incumbency, Rosenthal looks like a slight favorite, but an upset is possible. A third candidate, teacher Cary Goodman (D), is running a single-issue campaign against a museum expansion and looks less serious.
NYC-CD7 Unfortunately racist Thomas Lopez-Pierre (D) is back and is challenging City Councilman Mark Levine (D) in this D+44 district covering parts of the Upper West Side, West Harlem and Washington Heights. Lopez-Pierre is running an overtly anti-Semitic campaign and Manhattan Democratic Party Chairman Keith Wright has been looking for ways to kick him out of the Democrat Party.
NYC-CD-8 is an open Hispanic-majority D+43 seat covering East Harlem and the Mott Haven area of the Bronx. Four Democrats are seeking the open seat. State Rep. Robert Rodriguez (D) has the most name rec and machine backing, while council staffer Diana Ayala (D) has the endorsement of her boss, outgoing incumbent and council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D), and the WFP endorsement. Establishment support has been split and there is no clear favorite between Rodriguez and Ayala. Businesswoman Tamika Mapp (D) and 80s-era ex-State Rep. Israel Martinez (D) seem less serious.
NYC-CD-9 is a black-majority D+45 seat covering Central Harlem. Incumbent Bill Perkins (D) won a special election earlier this year with a third of the vote. He is now facing off with 5 challengers. Two prior challengers, union official Marvin Holland (D) and city council staffer Cordell Cleare (D), seem serious, but Perkins’s incumbency and name recognition, as well as vote-splitting among his challengers, probably leaves him a moderate favorite. Teacher Tyson-Lord Gray (D) and two Some Dudes seem less serious and likely serve to further dilute the anti-Perkins vote.
NYC-CD-10 is a Hispanic-majority D+40 seat covering Washington Heights and Inwood in Upper Manhattan. Incumbent Ydanis Rodriguez (D) is favored over teacher Josue Perez (D) and a Some Dude.
NYC-CD-12 is a black-majority D+44 seat covering Co-op City and most of the Williamsbridge area of the Bronx. Incumbent Andy King (D) is heavily favored over 2016 State Senate candidate Pamela Hamilton-Johnson (D) and nonprofit exec Karree-Lyn Gordon (D).
NYC-CD-13 is an open D+17 seat covering a mix of east Bronx neighborhoods around Morris Park and Throgs Neck. Four candidates are seeking this open seat. State Rep. Mark Gjonaj (D) is the best-known candidate, but he is a moderate who has been on mediocre terms with much of the local machine. A significant chunk of local establishment support has thus gone to local Dem official Marjorie Velazquez (D), who also has the WFP endorsement. There is no clear favorite between Gjonaj and Velazquez, while a third candidate, state legislative staffer John Doyle (D), is also in the race and could sneak up the middle. A perennial candidate is also running.
NYC-CD-14 is a Hispanic-majority D+43 seat covering Kingsbridge Heights and University Heights in the west Bronx. Incumbent Fernando Cabrera (D), a socially-conservative DINO, is facing challenges from Obama admin official Randy Abreu (D) and teacher Felix Perdomo (D). Abreu, who has the WFP endorsement and could continue to a competitive general on that line, looks like the more serious challenger. There is no clear favorite between Cabrera and Abreu in the primary.
NYC-CD-17 is a Hispanic-majority D+44 seat covering West Farms and Hunts Point in the Bronx. Incumbent Rafael Salamanca (D) is favored in his rematch with retired labor official Helen Hines (D), who took just under 40% of the vote in a special election last year.
NYC-CD-18 is an open Hispanic-majority D+41 seat essentially coextensive with Soundview in the Bronx. This council seat was once represented by the infamous Pedro Espanda Jr. (D) in the mid 2000s. State Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. (D), a socially very-conservative Pentecostal minister who is famous for his cowboy hat and sometimes-unhinged statements, nevertheless has a strong base in this district and is favored to move to the city council. His son is Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. (D) who along with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D) control the local Bronx County Democrat organization. Four other more traditional Dems are trying to beat out Diaz. City council staffer Amanda Farias (D) has the most establishment support of Diaz’s challengers, but will struggle to match the reverend’s name recognition and base. Mayoral staffer Elvin Garcia (D) also has some establishment backing, while community board member Michael Beltzer (D) and 2016 State House candidate William Moore (D) seem less serious.
NYC-CD-19 is a D+5 seat around Whitestone and College Point in northeast Queens. Incumbent Paul Vallone (D) should be favored over zoning consultant and 2013 candidate Paul Graziano (D). Either is favored over a Some Dude in the general.
NYC-CD-20 is an Asian-plurality D+19 seat around Flushing. Incumbent Peter Koo (D), a former Republican, is facing a challenge from community board member Alison Tan (D), wife of State Rep. Ron Kim (D). Tan is hitting Koo on some of his socially-moderate positions and has some establishment connections. However, Koo has incumbency and a very strong brand in the district. Overall there is no clear favorite.
NYC-CD-21 is an open Hispanic-majority D+37 seat around Corona. State Rep. Francisco Moya (D) is the heavy favorite to move to the council over ex-State Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D), whose prior political stint ended with his expulsion from the legislature for assaulting his girlfriend and a later corruption conviction.
NYC-CD-24 is a D+23 seat in central Queens around Fresh Meadows. Incumbent Rory Lancman (D) is favored over retired civil servant Mohammad Rahman (D).
NYC-CD-27 is a black-majority D+45 seat around central and eastern Jamaica. Incumbent Daneek Miller (D) is favored over retired cop Anthony Rivers (D).
NYC-CD-28 is an open black-majority D+41 seat covering southern Jamaica. The seat is open after the prior incumbent was convicted of corruption charges this year. Three Democrats are facing off. Community board member Adrienne Adams (D) is the new machine choice, but she faces attorney and 2013 candidate Hettie Powell (D), who has the WFP endorsement, and community board member Richard David (D). There is no clear favorite between Adams and Powell, while David looks like a longer shot but still has an outside chance.
NYC-CD-30 is a D+7 seat around Forest Hills. Incumbent Elizabeth Crowley (D) should be favored over professor and community board member Robert Holden (D). Crowley’s cousin is Rep. Joseph Crowley who controls the Queens County Dem organization. Holden is running as a moderate, has the Conservative line and is running a serious enough campaign that an upset might be possible. Republicans are running a non-serious Some Dude to a seat they held before Crowley was elected in 2009.
NYC-CD-32 is an R-held D+10 seat around Ozone Park and Howard Beach. A trio of Dems are vying to take on incumbent Eric Ulrich (R), who has proven popular in spite of the deep-blue lean of his seat. State legislative staffer Mike Scala (D) looks like a slight favorite over 2013 candidate William Ruiz (D) and teacher Helal Sheikh (D). The general should be competitive.
NYC-CD-34 is a Hispanic-majority D+40 seat around Ridgewood and Bushwick along the Brooklyn-Queens line. Incumbent Antonio Reynoso (D) should be favored over local Dem official Tommy Torres (D), though Torres has raised enough to be credible and could have enough establishment support to pull the upset.
NYC-CD-35 is a black-majority D+42 seat stretching from downtown Brooklyn to Crown Heights. Incumbent Laurie Cumbo (D) is facing a rematch with 2013 candidate and city council staffer Ede Fox (D), who is stridently against a new development project in the area. Cumbo should be favored but an upset is possible.
NYC-CD-38 is a Hispanic-majority D+30 seat covering the Sunset Park and Red Hook areas. Incumbent Carlos Menchaca (D) may be in the the toughest fight of any incumbent; Menchaca won his first term in 2013 in a considerable upset, and he is now facing four serious challengers. Menchaca has significant establishment support now, but he does face two well-known rivals in ex-councilwoman Sara Gonzalez (D), whom he beat in 2013, and sitting State Rep. Felix Ortiz (D). Attorneys Delvis Valdez (D) and Chris Miao (D) are also serious; Valdez has been second only to Menchaca in funds while Miao could have support in the Asian community, which makes up a quarter of the district. There is no clear favorite and all five could have a chance to win.
NYC-CD-40 is a black-majority D+42 seat covering central Flatbush. The real political divided in this district is between Afro-Caribbean blacks and African American Blacks. Incumbent Mathieu Eugene (D) is facing former council staffer Brian Cunningham (D), community board member Pia Raymond (D), and reporter Jennifer Berkley (D). Mathieu Eugene is of Haitian decent while the other candidates are African American. Cunningham in particular has significant establishment support and could pull the upset, but vote-splitting between the challengers probably still leaves Eugene as a slight favorite.
NYC-CD-41 is an open black-majority D+46 seat covering eastern Bed-Stuy and northern East Flatbush. Nine Democrats are running; legislative staffer and local Dem official Alicka Samuel (D) has raised the most and has the WFP line, while retired transit worker Henry Butler (D) also has some significant establishment support; there is no clear favorite between Samuel and Butler. Local Dem official Cory Provost (D), businesswoman Moreen King (D), tradeswoman Dierdre Olivera (D), and law student Leopold Cox (D) seem like longer shots but could have a chance at the upset. Three perennial candidates are also in the race.
NYC-CD-42 is a black-majority D+45 seat covering East New York and part of Brownsville. Controversial incumbent Inez Barron (D), wife of bat*t crazy black-nationalist State Rep. Charles (D), should be favored over nonprofit exec Mawuli Hormeku (D). The race is mostly a referendum on the Barrons, who are beyond controversial but have proven popularity in the area.
NYC-CD-43 (D, R) is an open D+6 seat covering the middle-class Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst areas. This is probably the most chaotic race of all; not only is it one of the few competitive general elections, it is also the only council seat with primaries on both sides and no clear front-runner for either nomination. Five Democrats and four Republicans are running. Council staffer Justin Brannan (D), Christian minister Khader El-Yateem (D), community board member and legislative staffer Vincent Chirico (D), legislative staffer and local Dem official Nancy Tong (D), and council staffer and local Dem official Kevin Carroll (D) are in the race on the Dem side. There is no clear favorite and any of the five could win. Legislative staffer and 2013 nominee John Quaglione (R), congressional staffer Bob Capano (R), consultant Liam McCabe (R), and local GOP official Lucretia Regina-Potter (R) are running on the GOP side and any of the four could win. Both sides are expecting this general election to be competitive and at this point it’s hard to say if any candidates would be exceptionally strong or weak general contenders.
NYC-CD-45 is a black-majority D+34 seat covering southern East Flatbush and Flatlands. Incumbent Jumaane Williams (D) is strongly favored over architect Lou Cespedes (D). Williams who is a SJW is in the running to become the next Council Speaker and is also contemplating a primary challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
NYC-CD-48 is a D-held R+11 seat covering Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay. Incumbent Chaim Deutsch (D), who is strongly backed by the area’s Orthodox community, should be favored over businessman Marat Filler (D). The general election in this increasingly-red but historically-D seat against Bloomberg admin official Steve Saperstein (R) should be one of the few competitive council races.
NYC-CD-49 is a D+18 seat covering the north shore of Staten Island. The north shore is about 1/3 Black, 1/3 Latino and 1/3 ethnic White. Incumbent Debi Rose (D) looks like a favorite over nonprofit exec and filmmaker Kamillah Hanks (D). However, Hanks, who has the endorsement of the Police Union and ties to the area’s IDC State Senator, could be serious enough to pull the upset. Both Rose and Hanks are black and black voters tend to dominate the D primary in this section of Staten Island.
In addition to the 3 competitive inter-party generals in districts 32, 43, and 48, there is one other competitive general election worth a mention. That is for NYC-CD-44, an open D-held R+18 seat covering the heavily Orthodox Borough Park and Midwood areas of Brooklyn. Operative Kalman Yeger (D), a protege of the retiring incumbent who was hand-picked for the seat, will face Yoni Hikind (I), son of the area’s DINO State Rep. and a rival of said councilman.