Governor Kathy Hochul, New York State’s first woman to hold the position, has successfully won her first full term in office against Republican challenger Lee Zeldin in this November’s gubernatorial race.
“I have felt the weight on my shoulders to make sure that every little girl and all the women of the state who have had to bang up against glass ceilings every time they turn,” said Hochul in her victory speech a few hours after the polls closed. “To know that a woman can be elected in her own right and successfully govern a state as rough and tumble as New York.”
The race was scathingly close. According to unofficial New York State Board of Elections election results, Hochul had 52.11 % of the votes and Zeldin had about 47% of the votes as of Nov. 9.
Hochul, along with Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, were running for reelection after scandals of their predecessors put both of them in office. Hochul was elected as Lt. Gov. along with former Gov. Andrew Cuomo in November 2014. She went on to replace him as governor after he resigned due to sexual harrasment allegations in 2021. Similarly, Delgado replaced Hochul’s former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin. Benjamin resigned in April 2022 after being charged with bribery and campaign fraud.
Hochul promised to continue championing progressive policies and building a new cabinet separate from Cuomo and has garnered a lot of support from downstate voters.
The Amsterdam News asked Black, white, men, women, young, and elderly voters in Brooklyn about their political leanings and what motivated them to come out to the polls. Despite concerns that New York voters would be fatigued from attending two separate primaries this year, polling sites and poll workers reported high traffic crowds getting the vote out all day.
According to the unofficial New York City Board of Elections numbers, there were a total of 432,634 voters that participated in early voting for the general election. The largest votes came from Manhattan with 133,618 and Brooklyn with 135,239.
Of the people surveyed, most were staunch Democrats that voted for all Democrats down the ballot with a goal of keeping “Trump Republicans” out of office. None seemed particularly rallied by the ‘rise in crime’ narrative that had become a major talking point for Hochul and Zeldin. Instead, city voters spoke about gun control, congestion pricing, climate change, abortion rights, and protecting a greater sense of democracy as being infinitely more important.
Additionally, there was a wide range of state and federal offices on the ballot this year with Democratic incumbents, like U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and New York State Attorney General Letitia James. Schumer and James attended Hochul’s elections results watch party in lower Manhattan. Both Brooklyn natives gave stirring speeches.
Schumer said he was “deeply humbled” to be the first New Yorker to be voted into the Senate five times in a row. James is the first woman of color to hold statewide office in New York and the first woman to be elected attorney general.
“Tonight, we heard from New Yorkers from across the state, and I am so proud to earn a second term as your attorney general,” said James. “Over the past four years, we have worked tirelessly to make New York a place where there is only one system of justice for all, and tonight is an affirmation of all that we have accomplished. In our first term, we have taken thousands of guns off the streets and cracked down on dangerous drug and crime rings; we have taken on Big Pharma for its role in the opioid crisis and delivered more than $2 billion to New Yorkers; we have protected women’s rights, immigrant communities, and the future of our planet; and we have fought for the rights of everyday people from Brooklyn to Buffalo.
“But as long as any New Yorker feels unsafe, can’t afford to live in their community, or is locked out of the sunshine of opportunity, we still have work to do. I will continue to fight for the rights of every person in our great state and ensure the rule of law is applied equally to everyone.”
Now the work begins, “In this election cycle you showed the nation what voters are made of,” said James. “This election was a call to action.”
Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about culture and politics in New York City for The Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://bit.ly/amnews1