A Guide to New York’s Midterm Elections


Graphic by Tony Wu

Candidates in the Democratic primary include Andrew Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon.

Sarah Jackson, News Editor

If you’re registered to vote in New York, brace yourself for midterm election primaries, which will be in full swing in fewer than 10 days.

The candidates in this year’s elections include everyone from a former NYU professor to New York’s first openly gay member of Congress, and the issues they champion — or oppose — range from free college to MTA changes. Ahead of the Sept. 13 primaries and Nov. 6 general elections, here’s a look at the politicians vying for your vote in federal and state elections.


In the Democratic primary, incumbent Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will run for a third term, facing off against activist and “Sex and the City” actress Cynthia Nixon, a proponent of education reform and universal rent control. Across the aisle is Republican nominee and Dutchess County executive Marc Molinaro, who has spoken about combating the opioid epidemic and reforming mass transit.

Running as an independent under the banner of a new political party, the Serve America Movement, is former Syracuse mayor and former NYU Wagner visiting Professor Stephanie Miner, who is running largely on an anti-corruption platform. Other gubernatorial candidates include former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, who is also running as an independent, as well as Green Party co-founder Howie Hawkins and Libertarian businessman Larry Sharpe.

Cuomo remains the one to beat in the Democratic primary, leading his closest competitor, Nixon, by an average of 33.5 points, based on polls conducted in July by the Siena College Research Institute and the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Lieutenant Governor

Cuomo’s running mate, incumbent Kathy Hochul, who has served as the state’s second-in-command since 2015 and was a vocal advocate for the bump to a $15 minimum wage. Hochul will square off against Nixon’s right hand man, Jumaane Williams, a Council member for New York City’s 45th District who is focused on preventing gun violence and fighting for union rights, in the Democratic primary. Molinaro’s running mate, Julie Killian, a former deputy mayor of the city of Rye, New York, backs infrastructure investments and substance abuse intervention. Miner, a registered Democrat, picked Republican Mayor Michael Volpe as her running mate.

The Siena poll also showed Hochul with a slim lead of nine points over Williams among the Democratic primary
voters surveyed.

US Senate

Incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand will run for re-election to the position of the state’s junior senator, challenged by Republican businesswoman Chele Farley, who served as the New York State Republican Party’s New York City finance chair. The Libertarian Party nominated for the position Aaron Commey, who is branding himself as a necessary blue collar candidate.

On average, Gillibrand has a 30-point advantage over Farley, based on Siena and Quinnipiac polls conducted in June and July.

Attorney General

The race to fill the position formerly held by Eric Schneiderman, who resigned in May amid allegations of physical and sexual abuse, is a crowded one. The Democratic candidates include Sean Patrick Maloney, who represents New York’s 18th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives and is the state’s first openly gay Congress member. Also in the running is Public Advocate for the City of New York Letitia “Tish” James, who has been endorsed by state Democrats and supports rent regulation laws and criminal justice reform.

The two will face additional competition from Zephyr Teachout, a professor at Fordham University School of Law who wants to tackle student debt by reducing or eliminating public college tuition for families that earn less than $125,000 a year. Leecia Eve, a former aide to Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo, has also launched a campaign for attorney general, with the hopes of reforming voting laws if elected. The Republican candidate, attorney Keith Wofford, hopes to tackle education and business law reform. Other candidates include the Reform Party’s Nancy Sliwa and Libertarian Christopher Garvey.

James is the one to beat, with the support of 26 percent of respondents in the Quinnipiac University Poll, followed by Maloney at 15 percent, Teachout at 12 percent and Eve at three percent.


The key figures in the running to become New York’s chief financial officer are investment banker Jonathan Trichter, a registered Democrat running under the Republican bill, and incumbent Thomas DiNapoli, who has held the position since 2007. Among the other candidates is Green Party nominee and single-payer health care proponent Mark Dunlea.

Polling data was not available for the comptroller race.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 4 print edition. Email Sarah Jackson at [email protected].