Races To Watch

Races To Watch

Voters across the state on Tuesday will choose candidates in races for governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, Congress, state Assembly and state Senate.
The top of the ticket has been made substantially less dramatic by the announcement that Andrew Cuomo and his running mate, Charlie King, will support H. Carl McCall and Dennis Mehiel in the primaries for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively. But the battle for comptroller is coming down to the wire and, since all politics is local, plenty of drama remains in some of the following primaries. While incumbents generally win, surprises are known to happen, and some of the contests are for open seats.
(Note: Last-minute court challenges could result in the removal of some names from the final ballot.)
State comptroller, Democrats: Little attention has been paid to this match, even as Bill Mulrow, a Westchester financier, goes negative on Alan Hevesi’s record as former city comptroller. Despite a dismal showing in last year’s mayoral race, Hevesi has the momentum, although Mulrow has the distinction of being endorsed both by Borough Park Assemblyman Dov Hikind and the Crown Heights Political Action Committee, as well as the Rev. Al Sharpton.
31st Senate District, Manhattan and Bronx, Democrats: Republican leaders in the Senate created this district with a Latino majority and hope to do away with State Sen. Eric Schneiderman, whose former district has been merged with this one. He faces Dominican-born Guillermo Linares, a former Washington Heights City Councilman.
69th Assembly District, Manhattan, Democrats: The retirement of veteran Assemblyman Ed Sullivan has created perhaps the most crowded primary in the city. The candidates are Cynthia Doty, Steven Strauss, Louis Nunez, Michael Brown, Francisco Spies, Joyce Johnson and Ari Goodman, who has strong Jewish organizational ties. Daniel O’Donnell, brother of celebrity Rosie O’Donnell, has been on and off the ballot due to court challenges. He was on as of Tuesday.
62nd Assembly District, Staten Island, Republicans: Robert Straniere, the only Jewish elected official on Staten Island, takes on David Mercaldo. Straniere is one of a fading breed of Jewish Republican pols. After refusing to bow out of last year’s race for borough president, he’s fallen out of favor with many county Republicans. But Mercaldo, backed by former Borough President Guy Molinari, is a lightweight who hasn’t raised much money.
46th Assembly District, Brooklyn, Democrats: Susan Lasher is seeking the seat once held by her husband and has strong backing from Russian immigrants in Brighton Beach. She faces incumbent Adele Cohen, who is seeking a third term and has a knack for making enemies.
21st Senate District, Brooklyn, Democrats: In the battle for this newly created seat, former Councilman Noach Dear is eyeing a political comeback as he faces Lori Citron Knipel, a district leader with strong party ties, as well as Kevin Parker and Omar Boucher. Dear, who represented Borough Park and Flatbush for 20 years, hopes to dominate the Orthodox portion of the district, a small percentage of the total area, while counting on his opponents to split the remaining vote.
43rd Assembly District, Brooklyn, Democrats: Clarence Norman, Brooklyn’s Democratic leader, has been embroiled in a continuing scandal of appointments to the borough’s courts. In the battle to keep his seat, representing Crown Heights and surrounding areas, he faces Sandra Roper, who ran last year for district attorney. In an interview on New York 1, Roper attacked Norman’s credentials in the Jewish community, prompting a statement from the Crown Heights PAC that Norman has been "a true friend."
16th Senate District, Queens, Democrats: Toby Stavisky, who inherited the seat when her husband, Leonard, died, is seeking re-election in a merged district. Fellow Democrat Dan Hevesi gave up his seat rather than challenge Stavisky. But she faces Julia Harrison, a former councilwoman whose comments about immigrants have offended the Asian population in Flushing.
Independence Party, Governor: Strong Democratic turnout for McCall is bad news for Republican Gov. George Pataki, who needs cross-party votes to win. In the past, the Conservative line has given Pataki his margin of victory. This year he’s also seeking insurance in the form of the controversial Independence Party’s ballot. He faces Thomas Golisano, the Rochester millionaire who founded the state chapter of the Independence Party and is making his third run for governor. Golisano has formally repudiated the wing of the party controlled by radical activist Lenora Fulani. Pataki has not.

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