Winners & Losers

The primary election’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down in this week’s elections?

From a closely watched downstate congressional race to rural upstate town judgeships, New Yorkers picked winners and losers Tuesday. At the state level, the sun is shining bright on incumbents. The incumbency spotlight did not shine bright on Rep. Jamaal Bowman, but clearly the real winners in the most expensive congressional primary in American history were the vendors with 20 million wins. We’ll leave the last word to former Gov. David Paterson who had a characteristically blunt take on former state Sen. Hiram Monserrate’s latest loss: “Well, I'm glad he lost because if he won, he probably would have had some more champagne and, who knows, he might have hit somebody with it.”


Keith Wright & Greg Meeks -

Keith Wright continues to build up his Manhattan empire. His son Jordan Wright won an open Assembly primary, beating three opponents to replace Inez Dickens in Harlem. The elder Wright also held off Rep. Adriano Espaillat’s preferred candidate in Assembly District 68, where Eddie Gibbs defeated Xavier Santiago. Over in Queens, Cassandra Johnson’s victory over Wendy Li ensured that Rep. Greg Meeks’ county party machine can maintain its hold on the lucrative Surrogate’s Court judgeship.

Jay Jacobs -

The Nassau County and state Democratic Party head has become a punching bag for some members of his party, but Jay Jacobs came out on top this time. Jacobs’ preferred candidates prevailed on election night on his home turf, with congressional candidate John Avlon and state Senate candidate Kim Keiserman (both of whom he endorsed in his personal capacity) and state Senate candidate Siela Bynoe (whom he did not formally endorse but did donate to) emerging victorious.

Sarahana Shrestha -

Freshman Assembly Member Sarahana Shrestha cruised to victory against challenger Gabi Madden in her primary Tuesday. Initially, it appeared that the democratic socialist incumbent was in for a real fight, as Madden was backed by moderate establishment forces from within Assembly District 103 and outside of it. But Shrestha’s margin of victory left little room for doubt about her hold on the area and her standing among constituents – and proved that, at least at the state level, progressives could protect their own upstate.

Hakeem Jeffries -

The House minority leader had a successful primary night on Tuesday, successfully helping Assembly Member Stefani Zinerman fend off a democratic socialist challenger in Central Brooklyn. Although Jeffries endorsed Rep. Jamaal Bowman, who lost reelection, George Latimer’s win in the race could have long term benefits. If Jeffries becomes House speaker in January with a narrow majority, he’ll have one less “Squad” member to deal with.

Ron Kim -

Nothing like a close call election to jolt a candidate into action. After only narrowly winning both his primary and the general election last cycle, Assembly Member Ron Kim didn’t take anything for granted in this year’s primary. He tacked to the center and unexpectedly pulled out a victory over his well-funded and more moderate opponent. Now it’s on to November’s challenge.


Jamaal Bowman -

Rep. Jamaal Bowman was ousted by George Latimer for Westchester County exec in the most expensive congressional primary in history. Ironically, he’s leaving the same way he came into power – with a hard-charging primary challenger galvanizing his local supporters to unseat an incumbent. As he enters the lame duck phase of his congressional tenure, he’ll still make his voice heard, but his forced exit also sends a loud message to critics of Israel.

Hiram Monserrate -

As it turns out, the third time is not always the charm. Twice-disgraced former lawmaker Hiram Monserrate gave Assembly District 35 a go for a third time, no doubt hoping he would have more luck in an open race now that Assembly Member Jeff Aubry is retiring. But Larinda Hooks clobbered him on election night. This was Monserrate’s fifth attempt to hold legislative office again after his expulsion from the state Senate, and his fifth loss.

Adriano Espaillat -

It was a tough night for the Squadriano. Rep. Adriano Espaillat has spent years trying to build up Dominican and Latino political power in Manhattan, but his high-profile endorsement was not enough in the end. Both of the candidates he backed lost their Assembly bids in East Harlem to incumbents, all while his chief rival – Manhattan Democratic Party chair Keith Wright – had a great night.

Jonathan Soto -

Not everyone who runs as a democratic socialist gets to have their magical election night moment. Jonathan Soto, a former AOC staffer who tried to unseat Assembly Member Michael Benedetto, fell far short in the Bronx district. It wasn’t for lack of trying. This was the second-and-a-halfth time Soto tried to unseat Benedetto, but he couldn’t get within 20 points of the incumbent – even with the organizational backing of both the DSA and WFP.

David Soares -

Albany County District Attorney David Soares’ Democratic challenger Lee Kindlon sent him soaring out of the office last night, beating him in the DA primary and bringing his roughly 20-year tenure to an abrupt close. And what a way for Soares to go out. Voter fatigue aside, perhaps siphoning off all that bonus money from a state grant wasn’t the best idea. It certainly didn’t pay off in the way Soares hoped.