ALBANY — Governor Kathy Hochul claimed victory on Tuesday as she easily beat a pair of Democratic primary opponents and edged closer to becoming New York’s first elected female governor.
The incumbent Democrat beat Rep. Tom Suozzi (DN.Y.) and Jumaane Williams, the city’s public advocate, with 64.9% of the vote in a contest that saw an extraordinarily low turnout, according to preliminary election data released about half an hour. after the closing of the polls at 9 p.m.
Williams received 22% of the vote and Suozzi came in third with about 13% with about 15% of constituencies reporting early results.
Hochul, in office for almost exactly 10 months, replaced disgraced former governor Andrew Cuomo last summer after serving as his lieutenant governor for seven years.
She will now face the Republican nominee in the November general election as she seeks a full four-year term in Albany.
During her short tenure, Hochul faced several challenges and crises, including the current COVID crisis and the resignation and arrest of Brian Benjamin, her handpicked Lieutenant Governor.
Benjamin was charged with federal corruption in April. Hochul said she was blindsided by the scandal despite numerous ethical questions being raised before her appointment.
During budget negotiations, the Buffalo native tried to play nice with the Dem-led Legislature but came under fire as her 11-hour bail reform plan was leaked to the press and a taxpayer-funded deal to build a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills was announced within days. before the expiry of the State expenditure plan.
Still, donors flooded Hochul’s campaign coffers with contributions as she overtook Suozzi and Williams by tens of millions of dollars and bolstered endorsements from major unions early in the race.
Suozzi described himself as a “common sense” Democrat, portraying himself as a moderate with executive experience as a former city mayor and county executive before joining Congress.
He focused on bail reviews and rising crime while criticizing Hochul for past endorsements from gun lobby groups and promising to lower taxes and the cost of living.
Williams ran to the left of Hochul. He was backed by the Working Families Party and ran on a pro-Progressive platform centered on housing, police reform and health care.
Hochul maintained her favorite status for much of the campaign as polls showed her clearly ahead of her rivals by wide margins.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the primary election — which included Democratic and Republican contests for governor, lieutenant governor and 150 seats in the state Assembly — was on track for an extremely low turnout, an unsurprising fact given that the primary has taken place. at the start of summer vacation for many families.
In the nine days of early voting leading up to Tuesday’s election, only 178,221 New Yorkers cast ballots out of a total of more than 13.3 million registered voters across the state, according to data released by the State Board of Elections. In New York City, only 86,890 people took part in early voting, or nearly 5.6 million registered voters in the city.
Full voter turnout figures, which include Tuesday’s tally, were not available until later Tuesday evening.
Republicans voting in the primary had four options for governor: Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin, former Westchester County executive Rob Astorino, businessman Harry Wilson and Andrew Giuliani, the former’s son Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and an aide to former President Donald Trump.
According to state election records, Zeldin raised more than $11.1 million, Astorino raised about $1.7 million, Giuliani raised about $931,000, and Wilson, who spent millions of dollars from his own money, has raised over $2.2 million.