Queens voters largely cast their ballots for the status quo in Tuesday’s Democratic primaries, while Republicans across the state repudiated the establishment by backing a Tea Party-supported candidate for governor who had been seen as a long shot until the last days of the race.
The GOP nominated Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino to run against Democratic state attorney general and Queens native Andrew Cuomo for governor. Paladino took 62 percent of the vote, preliminary results show, compared to 38 percent for former Rep. Rick Lazio of Long Island, who had been backed by most of the Republican Party leadership.
But Paladino’s preferred running mate, former City Councilman Tom Ognibene of Middle Village, narrowly lost the nomination for lieutenant governor to Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards, who received 52 percent of the vote to Ognibene’s 48 percent.
Across Queens, challengers lost their bids to unseat incumbent lawmakers, even though some had seemed to generate enthusiasm on the campaign trail in what is widely seen as an anti-incumbent year nationally.
Wall Street attorney Reshma Saujani lost her first bid for public office when Democratic incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Queens and Manhattan) trounced her with a whopping 81 percent of the vote. Maloney will now face GOP nominee Ryan Brumberg, an attorney and business consultant.
State Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) also received a strong vote of confidence, beating real estate broker Lynn Nunes with 73 percent of the vote. Gay marriage, which Huntley helped defeat last year and Nunes supports, was a frequently reported issue in the race, though each candidate played down its importance. Huntley’s victory all but assures her re-election in November.
In northern Queens, state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) fended off two challengers, winning a plurality but not a majority: 45 percent of the vote.
Other Democratic state lawmakers from Queens demonstrated greater support among the electorate in their victories, including Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven), who won 77 percent of the vote; Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village), with 67 percent; and Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills), with 60 percent.
On the federal level, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), running to win a seat she was appointed to, sent opponent Gail Goode packing by a 76 to 24 percent margin, stronger than all but Maloney and Miller among Queens’ lawmakers. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens and Nassau) defeated challenger Patricia Maher 69 to 31 percent.