Democrats came away with victories in several of yesterday’s biggest races, but it’s too soon to say whether they managed to take the seat in New York’s 148th Assembly District and Republicans’ ability to block a veto override along with it. Many of the night’s winners were endorsed by Governor Cuomo, who made a point of involving himself in local races this year.
Mark Poloncarz pulled off perhaps the biggest win of the night as he defeated incumbent Chris Collins to become the eighth Erie County executive. Though Erie County is largely Democratic, Mr. Poloncarz is just the second Democrat to take the county executive job in 51 years. Mr. Collins was a rising G.O.P. star who was considered a potential challenger for Governor Cuomo in last year’s race for the Governor’s mansion. Mr. Poloncarz had Governor Cuomo’s backing in the Erie County contest.
Democrats also earned a victory in the hotly contested Suffolk County executive race where Babylon Town Supervisor Steve Bellone defeated County Treasurer Angie Carpenter. Mr. Bellone’s election will give Governor Cuomo a crucial ally in the Long Island suburbs.
Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino wasn’t on a ballot last night, but he had plenty on the line. Mr. Astorino is another rising G.O.P. star who is a potential 2014 challenger for Governor Cuomo. Since taking office in 2009, he has struggled to work with the county’s Democratic Legislature. Mr. Astorino was hoping to break the Democrat’s supermajority in Westchester, but as of this morning, those aspirations hinge on the race between Michael Smith and incumbent Democrat John Nonna in the county’s 3rd District, which is currently headed for a recount.
Assemblyman Mike Spano won the mayoral race in Yonkers running on the Democratic, Working Families and Conservative lines. Yonkers hasn’t had a Democrat in the Mayor’s office since 1995. Another big mayoral race in Schenectady is still too close to call.
The race for the 148th Assembly District, which includes parts of Erie and Niagara counties is also too tight to pick a winner just yet. If Democrat Craig Bucki is able to beat Republican Raymond Walter, Minority Leader Brian Kolb’s G.O.P. conference will lose its ability to block a veto override. Minority Leader Kolb recently said he would use the veto override power to help Governor Cuomo veto an extension of the so-called “Millionaire’s Tax.” Governor Cuomo and Minority Leader Kolb are unlikely allies in the debate over the tax which the governor remains opposed to despite its popularity with Democratic lawmakers and New York voters.
Republican winners yesterday included Dan Donovan who succeeded in his quest for a third term as Staten Island District Attorney against Democrat Michael Ryan and Rose Marie Belforti, the Town Clerk of Ledyard, who was re-elected to another two year term. Ms. Belforti has earned widespread notoriety for refusing to grant marriage licenses to same sex couples in the Cayuga County town.