There has been a lot of focus on the Democratic primary race for New York state attorney general, which ends when polls close tonight at 9. Four candidates want the chance to run against Republican Keith Wofford and the Green Party’s Michael Sussman in November. Two are from the Hudson Valley. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne caught up with them earlier today.
Just after polls opened at 6 a.m., Fordham Law Professor Zephyr Teachout cast the first vote at the East Clinton Fire District house in Dutchess County, before heading to New York City.
“The race is wide open or very tight, whichever way you want to describe it,” Teachout says. “And the real difference here is that I’m an anti-corruption expert with the endorsement of The New York Times, the Buffalo News, the Daily News.”
Teachout has been running a grassroots campaign that does not accept corporate money.
“My campaign is funded by people who are giving $200; 97 percent of my donors are people who’ve given less than $200,” Teachout says. “And we have thousands of volunteers out there today, and I feel very good about today, but make sure you get out there and vote.”
Around 10 a.m., 18th District Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney showed up at his voting location in Cold Spring, in Putnam County, where election workers said turnout had been brisk.
“Look, all along we’ve said I have the most experience to do this important work at this critical time,” Maloney says. “I feel we’ve had a chance to make that case and, at this point, I leave it to the voters to make their judgments, and we’ll, of course, respect that.”
Maloney says that if he wins, there is a first order of business.
“The first thing I’d like to do is to make sure that the very talented people working there know that we value their service and we want them to continue. I think it’s very important when an office has been through this much disruption to retain the incredible talent there and to reenergize it, to do the important work ahead,” says Maloney. “And then we’re going to get in the game against crooks in Washington, against crooks in Albany and against crooks on Wall Street.”
He says he would ask interim attorney general Barbara Underwood to stay on in the office. Cold Spring resident Frank Saliani declined to reveal his votes, but says his choice for attorney general was driven by the following.
“I would like someone to place checks on government and support individuals,” Saliani says.
Cold Spring resident Haas Murphy:
“The race for attorney general is really important. I was very torn,” Murphy says. “Sean Patrick Maloney lives in Cold Spring and it it was two other incredible candidates, so I had a hard time picking.”
He declined to name his pick, but says what drove his decision.
“Mostly somebody who would really be an advocate for housing in New York City and the working class,” says Murphy.
Galelyn Williams says she voted for Cynthia Nixon in the primary against Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Maloney for attorney general.
“Well, I voted for Cynthia because I really appreciate all of what she stands for,” says Williams. “And, Sean Patrick Maloney, I just love his lifestyle and what he has to say.”
Mary Farkas voted with her 12-week-old baby in tow.
“Sure, I voted for Zephyr Teachout,” Farkas says.
“Why?” Dunne asks.
“Because I think her progressive agenda is what we need,” says Farkas. “I believe in bringing a woman in. I love that she’s going to be a mom, and I think that she’s really going to fight for what’s important.”
Teachout is due in October. Maloney and Teachout face New York City Public Advocate Tish James, whom Cuomo endorsed, and Buffalo attorney Leecia Eve. The lieutenant governor primary pits incumbent Kathy Hochul against Jumaane Williams. Meantime, if Maloney wins his primary, he will halt his campaign for another congressional term.