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Democrats Sweep Statewide Races In New York

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was awarded a third term in office by voters Tuesday, who chose him by a wide margin over his opponents.

Cuomo, in a speech to supporters, said he hopes to “vindicate” the trust New Yorkers have placed in him by electing him to another four-year term. Cuomo promised a continuation of the policies he’s championed in his first eight years in office, including more progressive issues, like equality for women and strengthening unions. But he also says he’ll continue his more fiscally conservative polices, like holding the line on taxes and state spending.

Cuomo says the state also has the largest number of private sector jobs in its history, and has businesses with “record profits."

“We can raise all boats, together, and we are (doing that) in New York,” Cuomo said.

The governor focused much of his campaign on his opposition to President Donald Trump and Trump’s policies, and he continued that in his victory speech, at times addressing the president directly, saying New York is not “buying” what Trump is selling.

“Mr. President, you have underestimated the strength of America’s better angels,” Cuomo said, to cheers. “Because at the end of the day, love is stronger than hate.”

Democrats swept the other statewide offices, with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul elected on a ticket with Cuomo, and New York City Public Advocate Tish James headed for a win for attorney general against Republican Keith Wofford. Incumbent Comptroller Tom DiNapoli easily won another term.

And U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand cruised to re-election against her Republican opponent, Chele Farley.

Cuomo’s senior campaign advisor, Maggie Moran, says turnout was very strong, with numbers more closely resembling a presidential election than a midterm contest, and that benefitted Democrats.

“By 2 o'clock (Tuesday), we’d already seen 100 percent of the turnout in 2014,” said Moran. “And that was across the board: African Americans, Latinos, suburban women.”  

The decisive win by Cuomo and his targeting of Trump is once again fueling speculation that Cuomo might run for president in 2020. The governor, in a debate during the Democratic primary, said he expects to serve out a full four-year term.

Democrats were also expected to retake the state Senate. In a statement, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins said, “The voters of New York State have spoken, and they have elected a clear Democratic majority to the state Senate. While the results of some elections are still being determined, at least 32 Senate Democratic Conference members have already won election tonight."

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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