How did things go in New York on Election Day 2017? A Christian conservative voter’s answer to that question likely depends on where in New York that voter happens to reside.
Downstate Races of Significance
Downstate, the Democratic Party fared well this year. In a bitterly contested race that featured attacks on each candidate’s integrity, Sen. George Latimer (D, WF, I, REF, WEP) defeated incumbent Rob Astorino, 57%-43%, in Astorino’s bid for a third term as Westchester County Executive. Sen. Latimer’s win will create a Democratic vacancy in the New York State Senate next year. The Senator won this race despite revelations that he had “not paid property taxes on a family home, [had] a car-registration suspension on his record and [missed] state budget votes in April while vacationing in the UK with a woman other than his wife.” As many listeners and readers will recall, Rob Astorino ran for Governor in 2014; his defeat last week dealt a major blow to his chances of mounting another gubernatorial campaign next year. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was quick to interpret Astorino’s loss as a repudiation of President Donald Trump and his policies; following the election, the Governor stated, “‘Rob Astorino is a fully financed subsidiary of Donald Trump… The same people who finance Donald Trump and an extreme conservative agenda are financing the Astorino campaign, and I am just philosophically opposed to everything they represent.’” Taking the opportunity to express his usual disdain for conservatives, Gov. Cuomo also declared that New York voters “‘have resoundingly rejected [President] Trump’s philosophy and the disciples of the extreme conservative gospel… We in New York chose equality, opportunity and community over hate, division and negativity. Those values are in New York’s DNA – they won tonight and always will.’”
As expected, incumbent New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, won re-election over Republican Asm. Nicole Malliotakis. At this writing, Mayor de Blasio’s margin of victory over Asm. Malliotakis was 66% to 28%. Mayor de Blasio’s comfortable victory will doubtless be interpreted as a vindication of his far-left policies, and could cause him to consider seeking higher office. During his victory speech, the Mayor said, “‘You saw some important changes in the last four years, but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.’”
Incumbent New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D, WF) defeated Republican Michel Faulkner handily. At this writing, Comptroller Stringer’s margin of victory was 77%-20%.
Sen. Rev. Ruben Diaz, a Pentecostal minister and socially conservative Democrat who has stood with NYCF on many pro-life and pro-family issues in Albany over the years, was victorious in his race for New York City Council in District 18. This result means that the Senator will be resigning his seat in the State Senate. Sen. Rev. Diaz’s outspoken defense of life and family will be missed.
On Long Island, Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran (D, WF, WE), narrowly defeated former State Sen. Jack Martins (R, C, REF, Tax Revolt), 51%-48%, in the race for Nassau County Executive.
Upstate Races of Significance
In upstate New York, the results of Election Day 2017 were a mixed bag.
As of this writing, the race for Rensselaer County Executive has not yet concluded. Asm. Steve McLaughlin (R, C, I, REF) currently leads Laura Smyth (D, WF, WE) by 949 votes. While Asm. McLaughlin has declared victory, Ms. Smyth has not conceded the race. Republican candidates typically fare well in Rensselaer County races, but Asm. McLaughlin’s campaign was weakened by the release of a recording in which he could be heard verbally abusing a female staffer.
Following last week’s election, the City of Syracuse will have a mayor who was elected without receiving the endorsement of a major party. Ben Walsh, who ran with the support of the Independence, Reform, and Upstate Jobs Parties, defeated Democrat Juanita Perez Williams, 54%-38%. According to Syracuse.com, Walsh is the first candidate to win a mayoral election in Syracuse without major party support in over 100 years. Perez Williams, a former staffer to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, lost the race despite receiving support from Gov. Cuomo and State Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
This year’s race for Erie County Clerk featured two enrolled Democrats running against each other. Journalist Steve Cichon ran on the Democratic (D), Working Families (WF), and Women’s Equality (WE) Party lines, while Asm. Mickey Kearns—a socially conservative Democrat—ran on the Republican (R), Conservative (C), Independence (I), and Reform (REF) Party lines. Asm. Kearns won the race, 52%-48%. Asm. Kearns will face re-election next fall, as he was elected to fill a vacancy. NYCF thanks Asm. Kearns for his pro-life votes, his integrity, and his upbeat presence in Albany.
Regarding The Ballot Proposals
Voters made solid decisions on this year’s three ballot proposals.
More than three-quarters of New York voters rejected Proposal One, the constitutional convention question. NYCF opposed Proposal One due to concern that a constitutional convention would enable left-wing special interests to propose damaging amendments to the New York State Constitution. Due to large Democratic voter enrollment advantages statewide, liberal delegates to the potential constitutional convention could have outnumbered conservative delegates and dominated the convention. Specifically, we were concerned about the potential for amendments to expand abortion access during all stages of pregnancy, create “rights” to state-funded health care and physician-assisted suicide, and recognize special “transgender” rights. NYCF is thankful that New York voters rejected Proposal One.
Proposal Two, a constitutional amendment allowing pension forfeiture for convicted public officials, passed with the support of approximately two-thirds of voters. Proposal Number Two amended the Constitution of the State of New York to allow judges to reduce or revoke the state pensions of certain public employees who have been convicted of felonies that relate to their official duties. The amendment will only apply to public officials convicted of crimes committed on or after January 1, 2018; however, the amendment will apply to corrupt public officials regardless of when they took office. Because the payment of public pensions to corrupt public officials is an abuse of New York taxpayers, NYCF supported Proposal Two and is pleased that it passed.
Proposal Three, which provided for the creation of a forest preserve land bank, was narrowly passed. NYCF took no position on this proposal.