Long Island voters are casting their ballots Tuesday in the Election Day that will decide who will be their governor, congressional representative, New York State senator, Assembly member and a few other titles.
Some of the most closely watched local races include the rematch between U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and his challenger, state Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), as well as the race to replace Zeldin pitting environmentalist Adrienne Esposito, the Democratic candidate, against Republican Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci. Voters will also decide who will replace retiring U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola)—Democratic Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice or former Republican county legislator Bruce Blakeman.
“I vote every year, regardless of whether it’s a presidential or an off-year election,” Robert Cipriano, 52, of Northport, told the Press after he voted at William Brosnan School, where turnout was slow but steady. “What brought me out today was, you know, change!”
Although voter turnout in the so-called midterm elections—the congressional elections that fall halfway through the president’s term—is generally lower than in presidential election years, the governor’s race is expected to get more traffic at polling places, political observers say.
At the top of the ticket is freshman Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who’s running for his second term against Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, the Republican challenger. Also running in the gubernatorial race are Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate, Michael McDermott, the Libertarian Party candidate and Steven Cohen, a member of the upstart Sapient Party. The other statewide races on the ballots include the state attorney general and comptroller.
Aside from Bishop and McCarthy’s seats, the other three local congressional races include U.S. Rep. Steve Irsael (D-Dix Hills) who’s being challenged by Republican Grant Lally of Lloyd Harbor, U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens), who’s being challenged by independent candidate Allen F. Steinhardt of Rockaway Park and U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), who’s being challenged by Democrat Patricia Maher of East Meadow and Green Party candidate William Stevenson.
Besides the Croci-Esposito race, the other eight state Senate seats on LI are also on the ballot, as are 22 state Assembly district representatives across Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Candidates running to replace term-limited Suffolk County Comptroller Joseph Sawicki include Suffolk Legis. John M. Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesonconset), the minority leader, and Democrat James Gaughran of Eatons Neck.
Voters brought a variety of issues with them into the voting booths.
“It’s hard to live on Long Island,” said a Deer Park woman who declined to give her name while expressing concern about property taxes and the new Common Core education standards. “I feel bad for people much younger than me…like newlyweds looking for houses.” She voted for Astorino.
Others just cast their ballots along party lines.
“I’m not politically minded,” said Mike Cal of East Islip. “I just vote my party and that’s it.”
“I came to vote Republican,” said 82-year-old Sally Campbell of Northport, who added that she never misses an election.