The State Senate primaries held on September 13 yielded few surprises. For the most part, incumbent officeholders prevailed against primary challengers from within their own respective parties. In primary elections that did not involve incumbents, candidates who received the support of the establishment in both parties generally defeated outsider candidates.
Seven Democratic senators received primary challenges this year. All seven of those senators won. In New York City’s Senate District 33, Marisol Alcantara narrowly defeated Micah Lasher, Robert Jackson, and Luis Tejada in her bid for the Democratic nomination (incumbent Sen. Adriano Espaillat, D-Manhattan, is running for Congress, and thus is not seeking re-election). Ms. Alcantara is very likely to win the general election in her overwhelmingly Democratic district; however, an Alcantara victory could affect the balance of power in the Senate, as Alcantara intends to caucus with the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference rather than with mainline Democrats. Establishment-backed candidates prevailed in two of three Senate Republican primaries, with Asm. Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville) defeating Christian Klueg in Senate District 49 and Erie County Clerk Christopher Jacobs defeating Kevin Stocker in District 60. In Senate District 54, the results of a five-way Republican primary are currently too close to call; as of this writing, establishment-backed Pam Helming led businessman Floyd Rayburn by 109 votes.
This year’s New York State Assembly primaries yielded some unusual results. Eighteen Democratic incumbents defeated their primary challengers; however, three did not. Longtime Asm. Margaret Markey (D-Queens), who led a multi-year effort to subject churches to lawsuits based on decades-old abuse claims, was soundly defeated by Brian Barnwell in Assembly District 30. In Assembly District 65, Asm. Alice Cancel (D-Manhattan), a Sheldon Silver ally who succeeded Silver after his criminal conviction and expulsion from office, lost her re-election bid to Yuh-Line Niou. Also, in Assembly District 72, Asm. Guillermo Linares (D-Manhattan) was defeated by Carmen De La Rosa. In notable Assembly Republican races, Asm. Ronald Castorina, Jr. (R-Staten Island) easily defeated challenger Janine Materna in District 62, and Asms. Karl Brabenec (District 98) and Marc Butler (District 118) also prevailed in their respective primaries. On a tragic note, recently-deceased Asm. Bill Nojay (R-Pittsford) prevailed over a primary challenger despite having passed away on September 9, 2016; party leaders are responsible for choosing a candidate or candidates to replace him on the November ballot. As of this writing, Republican primaries in Districts 116, 127, and 138 remain too close to call.