Yesterday’s election has set the stage for a possibly even more legislatively contentious two years than the last, but within New York and specifically Westchester County, an overwhelming unity toward progressivism has come to the fore. Here’s what you need to know:
- Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) successfully secured a third term, defeating Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R).
- Incumbent U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) likewise defeated Republican challenger Chele Chiavacci.
- Westchester-raised Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez won her Congressional race after besting incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in the Democratic Party primaries this summer. She will now be the youngest woman ever elected to congress, at age 29.
- Rep. Eliot Engel retained his seat in District 16, running unopposed.
- Incumbent Democrat Nita Lowey defeated Reform Party candidate Joseph Ciardullo in District 17.
- Sean Patrick Maloney successfully defended his seat in District 18 against Republican challenger James O’Donnell.
- Democratic Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli also retained his position
- Letitia James became New York’s first African-American (and, by default, African-American woman) Attorney General, soundly defeating Republican nominee Keith Wofford. James replaces Assistant Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who has been serving as Acting AG since the resignation of Eric Schneiderman earlier this year amid domestic abuse allegations.
- In the State Senate’s 40th District, Democrat challenger Peter Harckham, a former Westchester County legislator, unseated Republican Terrance Murphy of Yorktown.
- Allessandra Biaggi secured the her position as the new Democratic representative for New York State Senate District 34, after defeating incumbent Jeffrey Klein in the primaries earlier this year. Klein’s departure (and several others this midterm) reduce membership in the controversial Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) whioch typically votes with Republicans to three members.
- State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) is now in line to become Senate majority leader. She will be the first woman (and African-American woman) to lead a majority conference in the state Legislature.
Harckham was part of a “Blue Wave,” not seen in force in the rest of the nation, but definitely at play in New York. Democrats won a majority in the state Senate, even with a half-dozen or so contests still too close to call. For the better part of the past century, the state Senate has been predominantly under Republican control.
Democrats will now control both the state Senate and Assembly, while Governor Cuomo settles into another 4-year term, bolstered by support for the more progressive stances he took during this election cycle.