New York’s 2020 state legislative primary results

Assembly District 38 candidate Jenifer Rajkumar.
Assembly District 38 candidate Jenifer Rajkumar.
Sultan Khan
Assembly District 38 candidate Jenifer Rajkumar.

New York’s 2020 state legislative primary results

Tracking the winners and losers in each district.
June 30, 2020

In the midst of a global pandemic, the June 23 primary left a number of state lawmakers at risk of being removed from office – although an influx of uncounted absentee ballots make it hard to tell who ultimately will be the victor even in races where a candidate has a strong lead. 

Incumbent Assembly Members Aravella Simotas, Michael DenDekker, Michael Miller were all trailing badly with all the ballots cast at polling places on Election Day in and counted, while another Assembly incumbent, Walter Mosley, ended the night neck and neck with his challenger, Phara Souffrant Forrest. 

Forrest was one of several challengers endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America who were in position to notch an upset. Zohran Mamdani, who was leading Simotas in her Western Queens district, and Jabari Brisport, who was ahead in the race for a vacant state Senate seat in Brooklyn, were also backed by the DSA. 

In Queens, two younger female candidates in the mold of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were poised to oust longtime white male incumbents. Jenifer Rajkumar was far ahead of Miller, while Jessica González-Rojas was significantly outpacing DenDekker.

And in another set of intriguing races, three ex-lawmakers – Eric Stevenson, Hiram Monserrate and Jesse Hamilton – were also on track to fall short in their comeback bids. 

Outside of New York City, a number of Republican state senators had resigned or opted against seeking reelection after becoming members of the minority party, leading to an influx of Democratic candidates in the Tuesday primary, all vying to take over their seats in the general election.

In an election that will be influenced by a huge influx in demand for mail-in voting, it also remains to be seen how long it will take to find out which candidates have risen to the top. Below are all the state legislative races to watch as results come in.

STATE SENATE

State Senate District 1, Democratic Primary

Laura A. Ahearn: 29.69%

Valerie M. Cartright: 26.67%

Thomas Schiavoni: 22.79%

Skyler Johnson: 11.89%

Nora Higgins: 4.48%

With 212 of 212 election districts reporting.

State Senate District 12, Democratic Primary

Michael Gianaris: 65.98%

Ignazio Terranova: 23.32%

With 210 of 210 election districts reporting.

This race is in many ways a referendum on the failed deal to bring an Amazon satellite campus to Western Queens. State Sen. Michael Gianaris was among the biggest opponents of the deal, but Election Day results suggest that the voter backlash will not be enough to power Iggy Terranova, a former sanitation official, to victory. 

State Senate District 18, Democratic Primary

Julia Salazar: 76.78%

Andy Marte: 14.40%

With 244 of 244 election districts reporting.

State Sen. Julia Salazar scored a big political upset in 2018 by beating a longtime incumbent to become the first democratic socialist to win a seat in the state Legislature. She now appears to be in a commanding position to get a second term representing the North Brooklyn district despite the efforts of Andy Marte, a former legislative aide to the notorious longtime Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Vito Lopez. 

State Senate District 25, Democratic Primary

Jabari Brisport: 49.98%

Tremaine Wright: 38.85%

Jason Salmon: 6.65%

With 280 of 280 election districts reporting.

The three-way race to represent a district that stretches through downtown and central Brooklyn is arguably the most watched state Senate race of the year. Assembly Member Tremaine Wright had the backing of most of the local Demoratic Party establishment, which is looking to avoid an embarrassing lost to Brisport, who has the backing of the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. The initial results had Brisport with 12,778 votes, leading Wright by nearly 3,000 votes. 

State Senate District 38, Democratic Primary

Justin L. Sweet: 38.55%

Elijah Reichlin-Melnick: 28.53%

Eudson T. Francois: 17.50%

With 68 of 68 election districts reporting.

State Senate District 38, Republican Primary

William J. Weber Jr.: 65.02%

Matthew R. Weinberg: 30.45%

With 68 of 68 election districts reporting.

State Senate District 56, Democratic Primary

Jeremy A. Cooney: 41.47%

Sherita S. Traywick: 26.93%

Hilda Enid Rosario Escher: 24.67%

With 40 of 40 election districts reporting.

State Senate District 61, Democratic Primary

Kim Smith: 38.30%

Jacqualine Berger: 33.59%

Joan Elizabeth Seamans: 18.12%

With 111 of 111 election districts reporting.

ASSEMBLY

Assembly District 31, Democratic Primary

Khaleel Anderson: 36.43%

Richard David: 26.38% 

Lisa George: 17.91%

Shea Uzoigwe: 6.52%

Tavia Blakley: 3.63%

Derrick DeFlorimonte: 3.32%

With 86 of 86 election districts reporting.

This crowded contest to fill an open Assembly seat currently has Khaleel Anderson, a member of Queens Community Board 14, on top with a significant gap between him the second leading candidate. Queens district leader Richard David, who has earned the backing of the Queens Democratic Party, is closely followed by Lisa George, a staffer for state Sen. James Sanders Jr. But especially in such a six-way primary, counts pouring in from absentee ballots could make all the difference in this race. 

Assembly District 34, Democratic Primary

Jessica González-Rojas: 37.03%

Michael DenDekker: 20.87%

Joy Chowdhury: 13.89%

Nuala O’Doherty-Naranjo: 12.55%

Angel Cruz: 7.36%

With 73 of 73 election districts reporting.

Despite having a fundraising advantage and the backing of notable unions, Assembly Member Michael DenDekker could find himself losing to a progressive challenger this year. The former executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Jessica González-Rojas, is in a solid lead, beating him out by more than 17 points, according to preliminary voting results. The three other competitors hoping to unseat the incumbent haven’t fared nearly as well so far. Still, additional votes coming in through absentee ballots could shift the balance of the race.

Assembly District 35, Democratic Primary

Jeffrion Aubry: 59%

Hiram Monserrate: 31.80%

With 66 of 66 election districts reporting.

Disgraced former state Sen. Hiram Monserrate has been hoping to make a bigger political comeback this year with this Assembly run – but as it turns out, voters may not have a stomach for a convict who allegedly assaulted his girlfriend. Early results from the state Board of Elections show incumbent Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry in a solid lead for now, though things can still change depending on how many absentee ballots come through. 

Assembly District 36, Democratic Primary

Zohran Mamdani: 50.19%

Aravella Simotas: 43.20%

With 83 of 83 election districts reporting.

This race between candidates that support similar progressive policies is shaping up to be a tight one. Preliminary voting results show DSA-backed Zohran Mamdani, a housing counselor, is beating incumbent Assembly Member Aravella Simotas by about seven percentage points so far. That could change however, depending on the results from absentee ballots trickling in. 

Assembly District 37, Democratic Primary

Catherine Nolan: 52.34%

Mary Jobaida: 32.89%

Danielle Brecker: 14.51%

With 88 of 88 election districts reporting.

Assembly District 38, Democratic Primary

Jenifer Rajkumar: 49.47%

Michael Miller: 24.51%

Joseph De Jesus: 20.89%

With 71 of 71 election districts reporting.

The early results show Assembly Member Michael Miller with fewer than half as many votes as Jenifer Rajkumar, a professor with the City University of New York and former official in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration. Miller’s vulnerability is further emphasized by the fact that he only leads the third place candidate, Joseph “Joey” De Jesus, by a few percentage points.

Assembly District 40, Democratic Primary

Ron Kim: 60.53%

Steven Lee: 26.45%

With 60 of 60 election districts reporting.

Assembly District 43, Democratic Primary

Diana Richardson: 67.11%

Jesse Hamilton: 26.56%

With 87 of 87 election districts reporting.

Richardson appears to be in a good position to beat back a challenge from Hamilton, who is looking to stage a comeback to the state Legislature after losing his state Senate seat in 2018. Not only does she have the backing from many fellow elected officials, she also has gotten a surge in publicity in recent weeks for her role in protests against systemic racism, including an incident in the district where she was pepper-sprayed by the NYPD.

Assembly District 50, Democratic Primary

Joseph Lentol: 55.13% 

Emily Gallagher: 40.42% 

With 107 of 107 election districts reporting.

Emily Gallagher was looking to make the jump from local community board to the state Legislature by running to the left of Assembly Member Joe Lentol, who has represented the district for the past four decades. The race grew heated down the stretch and could be close once absentee ballots are counted.

Assembly District 51, Democratic Primary

Félix W. Ortiz: 37.87% 

Marcela Mitaynes: 30.52% 

Katherine P. Walsh: 20.30% 

Genesis E. Aquino: 9.09% 

With 87 of 87 election districts reporting.

While Assembly Member Félix Ortiz may not get a majority of votes, he could benefit from a divided opposition that includes Marcela Mitaynes, who is backed by the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, and Walsh, who recently got a last-minute boost to her campaign when local City Council Member Carlos Menchaca endorsed her. 

Assembly District 56, Democratic Primary

Stefani L. Zinerman: 51.71%

Justin Cohen: 39.68%

With 92 of 92 election districts reporting.

Local officials have backed Zinerman to replace outgoing Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright in this central Brooklyn district, but Cohen has raised enough money to compete and could exceed expectations in gentrifying areas of the district. 

Assembly District 57, Democratic Primary

Walter Mosley: 49.80%

Phara Souffrant Forrest: 45.89%

With 106 of 106 election districts reporting.

This race is a big test of the relative power of the local Democratic Party establishment, represented by Assembly Member Walter Mosley and his challenger, Phara Souffrant Forrest, who had the backing of the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. 

Assembly District 65, Democratic Primary

Yuh-Line Niou: 56.94%

Grace Lee: 35.15%

With 99 of 99 election districts reporting.

Grace Lee invested $250,000 of her own money in the race, but Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou had the backing of nearly every elected official in Manhattan and raised a comparable amount of money through small donors. 

Assembly District 73, Democratic Primary

Dan Quart: 53.19%

Cameron Alex Koffman: 34.97%

With 107 of 107 election districts reporting.

This is one of the strangest races of 2020. Cameron Koffman is a 20-something with no experience but bigtime blue blood connections through his great-uncle Richard LeFrak, a friend of President Donald Trump. Assembly Member Dan Quart would likely be a shoe-in for reelection except that he has already announced a run for Manhattan district attorney, which opened him up to attacks from the challenger.

Assembly District 79, Democratic Primary

Chantel Jackson: 24.67% 

Cynthia L. Cox: 22.01% 

George A. Alvarez: 16.58% 

Eric Stevenson: 12.25% 

Elvis Santana: 11.79%

Dion Powell: 3.44%

With 90 of 90 election districts reporting.

Chantel Jackson enjoyed the backing of outgoing Assemblyman Michael Blake in the six-way race for this South Bronx district. There appear to be five candidates who still have a real chance at winning once the absentee ballots are counted. 

Assembly District 85, Democratic Primary

Kenneth Burgos: 53.38%

William Russell Moore: 33.37%

With 85 of 85 election districts reporting.

Kenneth Burgos is in a good position to take over the seat formerly held by his boss, Assembly Member Marcos Crespo. While the electoral outcomes could shift in light of incoming absentee ballots, Burgos holds a solid lead and has had a strong financial advantage over his opponent.

Assembly District 93, Democratic Primary

Chris Burdick: 29.39%

Kristen P. Browde: 26.28%

Jeremiah Frei-Pearson: 20.70%

Alex E. Roithmayr: 8.15%

Mark Jaffe: 6.32%

With 116 of 116 election districts reporting.

Assembly District 122, Republican Primary

Joe G. Angelino: 73.76%

Nicholas R. Libous: 14.02%

Victor Furman: 5.90%

James P. Powers: 4.82%

With 98 out of 98 election districts reporting.

Assembly District 125, Democratic Primary

Anna Kelles: 32.75%

Seph Murtagh: 19.47%

Sujata Gibson: 14.96%

Jordan A. Lesser: 14.91%

Jason Leifer: 5.95%

Beau A.C. Harbin: 4.90% 

Lisa W. Hoeschele: 3.74%

With 44 of 71 election districts reporting.

Assembly District 126, Republican Primary

John Lemondes Jr.: 59.55%

Daniel B. Fitzpatrick: 39.05%

With 74 out of 77 of election districts reporting.

Assembly District 131, Republican Primary

Jeff L. Gallahan: 42.30%

Cindy Wade: 27.24%

Jeff Shipley: 20.08%

Ann Marie Heizmann: 7.36%

With 29 out of 111 election districts reporting.

Assembly District 134, Democratic Primary

Carolyn D. Carrol: 70.99%

Dylan P. Dailor: 16.61%

With 6 of 6 election districts reporting.

Assembly District 136, Democratic Primary 

Sarah Clark: 59.99%

Justin F. Wilcox: 27.74%

Nelson Lopatin: 5.19%

With 21 of 21 election districts reporting.

The local political establishment and organized labor backed Justin Wilcox, but Sarah Clark capitalized on some endorsements of her own, including former U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Assembly District 137, Democratic Primary

Demond L. Meeks:45.52%

Ernest S. Flagler: 32.77%

Ann C. Lewis: 13.75%

Silvano D. Orsi: 2.60%

With 34 of 34 election districts reporting.

Assembly District 138, Democratic Primary

Harry Bronson: 57.59%

Alex Yudelson: 37.96%

With 43 of 43 election districts reporting.

Assembly District 140, Democratic Primary

Kevin T. Stocker: 47.95%

William C. Conrad III: 47.89%

With 51 of 51 election districts reporting.

Assembly District 149, Democratic Primary

Jonathan D. Rivera: 47.69%

Adam L. Bojak: 26.93% 

Robert Quintana: 19.08%

With 54 of 54 election districts reporting.

Source: New York State Board of Elections

Zach Williams
is a staff reporter at City & State.
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at City & State.
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