New York was always going to be a crucial battleground where Democrats would have to pick up seats if the party was going to have a shot at winning the U.S. House of Representatives. And on Election Day, these three New York challengers delivered, with Delgado knocking out one-term Rep. John Faso in the Hudson Valley, Max Rose whalloping Rep. Dan Donovan on Staten Island, and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi edging Rep. Claudia Tenney in Central New York – assuming his advantage in the preliminary results holds.
Who's up and who's down this week?
Who's up and who's down this week?
Whenever there’s a big election victory, everyone wants recognition for their contributions – and the landslide win by the state Senate Democrats is no exception. There are plenty of players involved, from Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, state Sen. Michael Gianaris, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (and, yes, the candidates themselves) to The Parkside Group, NYSUT, 32BJ, the WFP, Greenberg Traurig … and the list goes on and on. On the topic of long lists, we’ve got an expanded Winners & Losers for election week, so read on to see who made the cut.
So what if some of his cronies got convicted of corruption? What gives if he helped prop up state Senate Republicans for years? And who needs a detailed third term agenda, anyway? None of it seemed to matter to New York voters, who gave the incumbent another comfortable election victory. To top it off, the governor notched a more unexpected win with the news that Amazon has apparently picked Long Island City as the site of at least of part of its second headquarters. If the governor changes his name to “Amazon Cuomo,” all the mysterious government subsidies may be worth it.
It’s a mayoral rite of passage to call a Charter Revision Commission, and Mayor Bill de Blasio finally got around to it this year – and convinced enough voters to say yes, yes, yes to his three good government ballot measures. But that’s small potatoes compared to how Hizzoner must have felt watching John Flanagan and the state Senate Republicans belly flop on election night. Now de Blasio has a real shot at passing long-favored progressive laws in Albany, as well as a much less arduous re-approval for mayoral control.
Democratic challenger Nate McMurray is still contesting the results, but it appears that Rep. Chris Collins has won a fourth term in the most Republican congressional district in the state. It became competitive following Collins’ indictment earlier this year on federal charges of alleged securities fraud. Despite the bad publicity and sporadic campaigning, Collins eked out a margin of a couple thousand votes over his spirited challenger. If the official results confirm Collins’ victory, he will join a growing list of lawmakers who winning reelection despite run-ins with the law, including former Rep. Michael Grimm, Rep. Duncan Hunter of California and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey. In Collins’ case, it remains to be see if he will serve out his full term or use it as leverage to strike a deal with prosecutors. A trial is set to begin in 2020.
Was there ever any doubt? But don’t let her statewide dominance diminish Tish James’ impressive rise from the waiting room of New York City public advocate to real power. Her ascension as state attorney general makes her the first woman elected to the position, and the first woman of color ever elected to statewide office in New York. Now she’s automatically in the conversation about the next governor’s race, and everyone wants to be James’ friend – especially the business owners and lawmakers she now has the power to prosecute.
Who says there’s no such thing as victory in defeat? Stephanie Miner and Larry Sharpe may have lost their bids for governor, but both secured enough votes to win their respective parties ballot access for the next four years. Sharpe won well over the 50,000 votes necessary to give the Libertarian Party a recognized ballot line. Miner only just eked out enough votes to give the Serve America Movement ballot access, but as SAM’s first candidate, that’s enough reason to celebrate.
On Tuesday, Democrats won enough seats to position Rep. Jerry Nadler as the next chair of the House Judiciary Committee. On Thursday, President Donald Trump had another matter to add to the many that Nadler can start investigating come January – the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a legally dubious appointment to replace him. And of course, if Democrats do impeach the president, it’ll be Nadler leading the charge. Other New Yorkers are poised to run key committees too, including Reps. Nita Lowey (Appropriations), Eliot Engel (Foreign Relations) and Nydia Velazquez (Small Business).
Brooklyn Assemblyman N. Nick Perry was the biggest winner of all on election night, with 95.67 percent of eastern Brooklyn constituents voting to reelect the longtime Democratic legislator. Was his advocacy for public transportation behind his electoral success? Or was it a stirring life story that helped the Jamaica native and Army veteran run up the score? The lack of an opponent on the ballot certainly helped, but whatever he’s doing, his district appears to be the safest of all in the Democratic-controlled Assembly.
The allegations of abuse against then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that The New Yorker published in May were damning enough that he stepped down almost immediately. Months later, prosecutors have decided not to bring charges against the former prosecutor, although Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas didn’t seem thrilled that she couldn’t make a case against him. So while his political career is dead – and his love life probably is, too – at least he avoided following the well-trod path from Albany to a prison cell.
Albany’s maligned “three men in a room” culture may have changed slightly when then-state Sen. Jeff Klein was able to make it “four men in a room.” But state Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is set to truly shake things up as the first woman to lead a majority conference in the New York state Legislature. She has spent years rehabilitating her conference’s reputation – and now she’ll have strength in numbers as she navigates the challenges ahead.
“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” The Queens state senator seemed to think he could through sheer force of will overcome the mountain-like obstacle of winning another term in office without the power provided by a major-party line. Unfortunately for Avella, his decision to hitch himself to the Independent Democratic Conference weighed him down, and John Liu sped ahead to victory. So for all his huffing and puffing, he wasn’t the little lawmaker that could.
Every four years, state lawmakers take up the matter of rent regulations. And like clockwork, the state Senate Republican conference has gone to bat for the real estate industry, chipping away at protections for tenants while making life a little easier for developers and landlords. But with the laws up for renewal again next year, the GOP has been stripped of their power in the chamber, leaving industry leaders like REBNY’s John Banks and the Rent Stabilization Association’s Joseph Strasburg with few allies – unless, of course, a friendly Democrat or two can be persuaded to help the cause.
Christine Pellegrino and Erik Bohen both had their five minutes of fame thanks to unusual special election wins. When Pellegrino won an Assembly seat in 2017, it was a surprise – the heavily Republican district went overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump. But while her upset may have even been a precursor of Democratic victories to come, the blue wave wasn’t enough to save her this year. Meanwhile, Bohen, a Democrat who ran as a Republican in an April special election, was shunned by both parties in Albany. After being physically separated from the Democratic caucus like an island castaway, he too has been cast out of the Assembly.
Now that the so-called “blue wave” has swept through the state Senate – clearing the way for Democrats to follow through on their promise to fast-track the Child Victims Act that would expand the statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims bringing cases against the Catholic Church – representatives of the Catholic Conference say they are “happy and anxious” to start discussing the issue. However, some abuse survivors are skeptical of the intentions of the church and leaders like Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
Although he easily kept his seat, state Sen. Simcha Felder will be returning to a very different Albany in January, one where he will no longer be the kingmaker. With Democrat’s comfortable majority in the chamber, they no longer need the Republican-allied Democrat. For years, Felder held a position of power by helping Republicans keep their majority. And Democrats have tried to court him back to their side when they were only down by one seat. But no longer.
The state Senate Republican leader didn’t just lose the majority. His conference failed so miserably on Tuesday that Democrats are downright giddy about a shift in power that might last a generation or more. If the GOP thinks it can win back seats in 2020, think again – the high turnout typical of presidential elections traditionally helps Democrats, and the backlash against President Donald Trump could be even stronger with him actually on the ballot. Of course, Flanagan could be long gone by then – not only as leader, but possibly vacating his seat and making it a target for yet another Democratic pickup on Long Island.
New York voters endured a spate of problems at the polls on Tuesday – some of which, like bad weather, can’t be helped. But it was the malfunctioning ballot scanners and hours-long waits in line that really got people fed up – and politicians fired up. Michael Ryan, the executive director of the Board of Elections, will take the blame, whether he accepts it or not. After attributing technical difficulties and long lines to high voter turnout, Ryan eventually admitted that the machines are outdated and wearing down. Ryan, however, didn’t hesitate to place the onus on legislators to approve updated tech.
With all the Democrats’ excitement about taking back the House, one might have forgotten that the party had a chance to win the U.S. Senate, too. Reminder: They didn’t. As of now, they have lost at least three seats, further weakening Schumer’s power as minority leader, since he’ll now have a much tougher time blocking legislation Democrats don’t want. On a banner night for Democrats, Schumer couldn’t ride the wave.
Even Curtis Sliwa’s Guardian Angels couldn’t protect the Reform Party – his party failed to receive the 50,000 gubernatorial votes this election to keep its automatic ballot access, effectively killing the party. The Women’s Equality Party, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo created in 2014, found itself in the same situation. Despite Cuomo’s easy re-election win, not enough people voted for him on the WEP line. Although as far as political parties go, the WEP was hardly even a real one anyway, doing little besides supporting Cuomo.
President Donald Trump may say, however inaccurately, that all the U.S. Senate candidates he campaigned for won, but results in the House show his support dragged down for embattled New York incumbents in tight congressional races. This includes Rep. Dan Donovan in Staten Island, and Reps. John Faso and Claudia Tenney in Central New York (though Tenney is not yet ready to concede). Republican Rep. John Katko, meanwhile, touted his lack of presidential support and won by a comfortable margin in another Central New York district. Those who are willing to take a close look at who Trump backed will notice that his endorsed candidates lost as much as they won on Election Day.