A guide to New York’s general election

New Yorkers line up to cast their votes for President of the United States on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016
New Yorkers line up to cast their votes for President of the United States on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016
Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office.
New Yorkers line up to cast their votes.

A guide to New York’s general election

There are competitive races for county executives and district attorneys.
November 4, 2019

Nothing sucks up all the oxygen like a presidential election, but before you turn on cable news to check out which of the 17 Democratic primary candidates is pulling ahead in the race to unseat President Donald Trump, remember that New York has its own general election on Tuesday, Nov. 5. And with early voting underway already, City & State put together a guide of 2019’s major races.

During the June primary election, Democratic incumbents including New York City Councilwoman Farah Louis and Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano prevailed, but both will face challengers next week. Upstate, several county executives are running in competitive races, along with a bevy of state Supreme Court seats that are up for grabs. In New York City, however, it’s not just the contested races for public advocate and City Council that will appear on ballots this year, but five questions that propose changes to the City Charter.

Before you head to the polls – which you can actually do right now – check out our rundown of this fall’s biggest and most interesting competitive races.

State Senate:

State Senator – 57th District

Incumbent: None

Who’s on the ballot: Austin Morgan, George Borrello

The story: After coasting to victory in June’s Republican primary, Chautauqua County Executive George Borello clinched his party’s nomination to take over for former state Sen. Cathy Young, who earlier this year vacated her 57th district seat covering the Southern Tier’s Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties and parts of Livingston County. Borrello faces a challenge from 22-year-old Austin Morgan, a Democrat who graduated from Cornell University in May. This rural area leans heavily Republican. 

County executives:

County Executive – Suffolk County

Incumbent: Steven Bellone

Who’s on the ballot: Steven Bellone, John Kennedy Jr., Gregory John Fischer

The story: Incumbent Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is running as both a Democrat and on the “Protect the Taxpayer” line, facing off against the county’s Republican Comptroller John Kennedy Jr. and Libertarian candidate Gregory John Fischer. Bellone has argued that he’s turned around a fiscal crisis – a crisis his opponents say is still ongoing. 

County Executive – Erie County

Incumbent: Mark Poloncarz

Who’s on the ballot: Mark Poloncarz, Lynne Dixon

The story: Incumbent Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is seeking a third term against Independence candidate Lynne Dixon, who won her party line in a contested primary in June – after accusing Poloncarz of orchestrating her challenger’s candidacy as a ploy to take her down. Dixon is also running as a Republican in the primarily Democratic district. But, as The Wall Street Journal has noted, some are watching this Erie County race, since Buffalo and its suburbs could be considered a bellwether, to judge shifting voter sentiment ahead of next year’s presidential election.

County Executive– Monroe County

Incumbent: Cheryl Dinolfo

Who’s on the ballot: Adam Bello, Cheryl Dinolfo

The story: The months-long battle between Cheryl Dinolfo, the incumbent county executive in Monroe county, which surrounds Rochester and County Clerk Adam Bello is finally about to come to an end. While Dinolfo is running as a Republican and Bello as a Democrat, the two actually faced off in a June primary for the right to run on the Independence Party line. Dinolfo claimed victory in that primary race by about 10 points. 

County Executive – Monroe County

Incumbent: Cheryl Dinolfo

Who’s on the ballot: Adam Bello, Cheryl Dinolfo

The story: The months-long battle between Cheryl Dinolfo, the incumbent county executive in Monroe county, which surrounds Rochester and County Clerk Adam Bello is finally about to come to an end. While Dinolfo is running as a Republican and Bello as a Democrat, the two actually faced off in a June primary for the right to run on the Independence Party line. Dinolfo claimed victory in that primary race by about 10 points. 

District attorneys:

District Attorney – Nassau County

Incumbent: Madeline Singas

Who’s on the ballot: Madeline Singas, Francis McQuade

The story: Nassau County’s Democratic District Attorney Madeline Singas is facing a general election challenge from Republican Francis McQuade, an attorney who has launched unsuccessful runs for the Nassau County Legislature and state Assembly in the past. Nassau County voted for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, countywide seats like district attorney and county executive have been held by Democrats in recent years.

District Attorney– Onondaga County

Incumbent: William Fitzpatrick

Who’s on the ballot: Chuck Keller, William Fitzpatrick, Gary Lavine

The story: Seven-termRepublican incumbent William Fitzpatrick is on the ballot against Democrat Chuck Keller, and Gary Lavine, who is running on the Independence and Conservative party lines, bringing Fitzpatrick his first electoral challenge in 12 years.

District Attorney – Rockland County

Incumbent: Kevin Gilleece (Acting)

Who’s on the ballot: Thomas Walsh, Ken Zebrowski, Mike Diederich

The story: Since former Rockland County District Attorney Tom Zugibe vacated his seat to take a state Supreme Court judgeship, the field to replace him has filled up with several challenges. Thomas Walsh beat out a crowded field of Democrats in the June primary, and one of those Democrats, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, is on the ballot in the general election on the Working Families Party line, but has not been campaigning. Walsh is also running on the Republican and Conservative lines, while his main challenger, retired Army attorney Mike Diederich, is running on the “Serve Rockland” line.

District Attorney – Monroe County

Incumbent: Sandra Doorley

Who’s on the ballot: Shani Curry Mitchell, Sandra Doorley

The story: Monroe County’s Republican incumbent District Attorney Sandra Doorley is locked in a heated – and expensive – general election challenge from Democrat Shani Curry Mitchell. Doorley may have the incumbent’s advantage but the New York Justice & Public Safety Political Action Committee – a PAC tied to billionaire philanthropist George Soros – has paid for more than $800,000 in television ads for Mitchell.

New York City:

New York City Public Advocate

Incumbent: Jumaane Williams

Who’s on the ballot: Jumaane Williams, Joseph Borelli, Devin Balkind

The story: After beating out a crowded field of candidates in the special election for public advocate in February, former City Councilman Jumaane Williams was spared a Democratic primary challenge in June. He’s now facing a challenge from Republican City Councilman Joe Borelli, who has mounted a longshot, though entertaining, bid for the citywide seat. Balkind is running as a Libertarian.

District Attorney– Queens County

Incumbent: None

Who’s on the ballot: Melinda Katz, Joseph Murray

The story: After a Democratic primary for Queens district attorney brought national media attention and presidential candidate endorsements to Democratic Socialists of America candidate Tiffany Cabán, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz ultimately prevailed. Katz, a career pol who was backed by the entire Queens Democratic establishment, is now facing off against yet another Democrat – albeit one who supports Trump – Joseph Murray, who is running on the Republican line. Katz should easily cruise to victory in the heavily Democratic borough. 

New York City Council

Incumbent: Farah Louis

Who’s on the ballot: Farah Louis, David Fite, Anthony Beckford

The story: With Jumaane Williams moving up to public advocate earlier this year, Farah Louis won the special election to fill his vacated City Council seat in May. She then proceeded to win a busy Democratic primary race in June. Her final test comes with next week’s general election against Libertarian David Fite and Anthony Beckford, who is running on the Liberal Party line.

District Attorney – Bronx County

Incumbent: Darcel Clark, a Democrat, is running unopposed for Bronx district attorney.

District Attorney – Richmond County

Incumbent: Michael McMahon, a law-and-order Democrat, is running unopposed for Staten Island district attorney.

Mayoral races:

Mayor – Yonkers

Incumbent: Mike Spano

Who’s on the ballot: Mike Spano, Mario De Giorgio

The story: Incumbent Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano coasted to victory in a June Democratic primary to win a third term as mayor – something he can do thanks to a recent rules change. Spano will face off against Republican former City Council candidate Mario De Giorgio this November.

Mayor – Cohoes

Incumbent: Vacant

Who’s on the ballot: William Keeler, Steven Napier Jr.

The story: The office of the mayor in Cohoes has seen its fair share of ups and downs in the past month, as the controversial former mayor, Shawn Morse, was removed from office after pleading guilty to stealing campaign funds. Even before that, retired State Police Major Bill Keeler beat Morse in June’s Democratic primary. Now, Keeler faces a challenge from another Democratic primary candidate, Steven Napier Jr., who is running in the general election on the Working Families and Independence Party lines.

Mayor – Mount Vernon

Incumbent: Andre Wallace (acting)

Who’s on the ballot: Shawyn Patterson-Howard, Andre Wallace

The story: It’s been an eventful few months for Mount Vernon, as former Mayor Richard Thomas was convicted of corruption in July, and Andre Wallace was appointed to serve as acting mayor, but was then ousted by his City Council, who wanted to replace him with Councilwoman Lisa Copeland. Wallace ultimately prevailed after a lengthy legal battle, and is set to serve as mayor through the end of 2019. Wallace is running as a Republican in the general election against Democrat Shawyn Patterson-Howard and Rosemarie Jarosz, who is running on the Conservative Party line. Wallace and former Mayor Thomas both lost to Patterson-Howard in June’s Democratic primary. Patterson-Howard would be the first black woman elected mayor in Westchester County.

Judicial elections:

Civil Court Judge – Kings County

Who’s on the ballot: D. Bernadette Neckles, Vincent Martusciello

Civil Court Judge– Queens County

Who’s on the ballot: Michele Titus, Kevin Hanratty, Lumarie Maldonado-Cruz, Claudia Lanzetta

*Voters will select 3 candidates

Civil Court Judge –1st Municipal Court District, Richmond

Who’s on the ballot: Edwina Winnie Martin, Bob Helbock

Supreme Court Justice – 3rd Judicial District

Who’s on the ballot: John Egan, Jr., Michael Lynch, Justin Corcoran, Linda Blom Johnson

*Voters will select 3 candidates

Supreme Court Justice – 4th Judicial District

Who’s on the ballot: Julie Garcia, Michael Violando, Rebecca Slezak, Dianne Freestone, James Walsh, Michael Cuevas

*Voters will select 4 candidates

Supreme Court Justice 5th Judicial District

Who’s on the ballot: Bernadette Romano Clark, Rory McMahon, Julie Cerio, Joseph Lamendola, Robert Antonacci, II

*Voters will select 3 candidates

Supreme Court Justice – 6th Judicial District

Who’s on the ballot: Pete Charnetsky, Claudette Newman, Chris Baker, Oliver Blaise, III, Mark Masler

*Voters will select 3 candidates

Supreme Court Justice – 7th Judicial District

Who’s on the ballot: Meredith Vacca, Kevin Nasca, Matthew Rosenbaum

*Voters will select 2 candidates

Supreme Court Justice – 9th Judicial District

Who’s on the ballot: Nancy Quinn Koba, Steven Milligram, Lewis Lubell, Gina Capone, Robert Freehill

*Voters will select 4 candidates

Supreme Court Justice10th Judicial District

Who’s on the ballot: Stephen Lynch, Angela Iannacci, David Gugerty, Christopher Quinn, David Sullivan, Thomas Rademaker, Christopher Garvey, Annette Totten

*Voters will select 6 candidates

Supreme Court Justice – 11th Judicial District

Who’s on the ballot: Donna-Marie Golia, Maurice Muir, Joseph Kasper, Phillip Hom, Daniel Kogan, Stephen Knopf, Wyatt Gibbons, Lourdes Ventura

*Voters will select 6 candidates

Correction: This article originally stated that President Donald Trump carried Nassau County in 2016.

Annie McDonough
Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
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