Reaction from New York’s politicians and political parties on this year’s election results is mixed.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s pleased that Democrats gained a county executive seat in Monroe County, where incumbent Republican Cheryl DiNolfo was defeated by Democrat Adam Bello. Bello will be the first Democratic county executive there in 30 years.
Two swing counties on either end of the state remained in Democratic hands. Erie cCounty executive Mark Polancarz beat back a challenge from Republican challenger Lynne Dixon. And in Suffolk County on Eastern Long Island, Steve Bellone won a second term against GOP candidate John Kennedy. Cuomo says its proof to him, that their governments were effective.
“Voters rewarded performance, which is what they should do,” Cuomo said.
Some Republican incumbent county executives did keep their seats, including Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who won a third term in office. Molinaro unsuccessfully challenged Cuomo in the 2018 governor’s race. The state’s Conservative Party, in a statement, praised Molinaro’s win.
The state Republican Party Leader Nick Langworthy said there were “solid Republican wins" in every region of the state including victories that flipped control in the Long Island town of Hempstead, the nation’s largest town (pop. 800,000) to Republicans, as well as GOP takeover of the Clinton County legislature in Northern New York.
There was one state level election, a special election to replace Olean Senator Kathy Young, who resigned earlier this year to take a job at Cornell University. Young, a Republican, was replaced by GOP candidate George Borrell in the heavily Republican district.
Nationally, Democrats took over the Virginia state legislature, and in Kentucky, the state of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear was poised to take over the governorship from Republican incumbent Matt Bevin. Beshear leads by a small margin, Bevin has not yet conceded. Cuomo says the wins are “a very big deal.”
“What does it mean next year, who knows,” the governor said.
New York for the first time had early voting , and polls were open in select locations for nine days before Election Day. More than 250,000 New Yorkers opted to cast their ballots early, about 2% of all registered voters.
Voting rights advocates, including the League of Women Voters, say early voting was largely successful, but they want to tweak the rules to include more polling sites in counties with smaller populations, and to require that each county provide a polling place in its largest urban center.
Cuomo says he’s open to revisiting the law to perhaps improve it.
“We have to study how it actually worked and where it worked, I’m sure we can do it better in some places,” Cuomo said. “But the idea is right, and it’s long overdue and I’m proud we did it.”
Early voting is expected to grow in popularity during the high stakes presidential primary and general election in 2020.