Taking Stock Of State Dem Primary

Though the general election actually decides who will represent us, Democrats have never been shy about having a free-for-all in the primary elections. It is part of the “fun” of being a Democrat.

In the federal Democratic Primary Election for Congress held in June here in the Southern Tier, there were five candidates vying for the opportunity to run in an uphill race for the House of Representatives. It was quite a spirited campaign with meetings held across the Congressional District.

It gets even better for the upcoming September 13th statewide Democratic Primary. There is a race for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. There are no races for these positions in the Republican Party.

Democrats are known for being fractious and feisty. Will Rogers is purported to have said: “I am not a member of any organized political party — I am a Democrat!” Republicans are known to be more disciplined and well-organized. Yet, when it comes to primaries, you could argue that sometimes being a Republican can also be pretty boring.

So, on a state level, whom do the Democrats have to choose from this year?

There is Governor Andrew Cuomo whose administration is under siege from criminal convictions of those close to him, and who is being challenged from the left by Cynthia Nixon, a media star and well-known in the New York area. She is underfunded compared to Cuomo, lags in the polls, yet has run an aggressive campaign.

It will be an interesting race to watch.

For Attorney General, the Democrats fighting for the position vacated by former “up-and-comer” Eric Schneiderman are: Letitia James, current public advocate in New York City; Zephyr Teachout who unsuccessfully challenged Andrew Cuomo in 2014; Sean Patrick Maloney from the Hudson Valley who is running for two jobs at the same time since he is running for re-election as Congressman as well as for the attorney general’s job; and Leecia Eve, a lawyer with Western New York roots since her father was a longtime assemblyman from Buffalo.

Then there is perhaps the most interesting race, that for lieutenant governor. The current lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, is being challenged by a New York City councilman, Jumaane Williams, from Brooklyn. Under the arcane election laws of New York, the lieutenant governor is separately chosen by party voters. Though Kathy Hochul is popular in our neck of the woods, she is not that well known in New York City. Since there are more Democrats in Brooklyn than in all of Western New York, it could be a tight race.

The Republican candidates for statewide office were selected at their state convention and were not challenged in a primary. However, for Democrats, Primary Day will be a day when they have a lot of choices to make as to who will be running for state leadership positions in the general election in November.

Democrats might as well enjoy the day, exercise their right to vote and see where the chips fall!

(By the way, this time, Primary Election Day falls on a Thursday, not a Tuesday… so you had better mark your calendars.)

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.

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