Saturday, December 10, 2005

New York 2006 Election Information Part II

In this diary RenaRF made a call for a DailyKos project to gather and report information regarding the upcoming 2006 elections on a state by state basis. There are plenty of unclaimed states so please see her diary and claim your state.

In Part I yesterday I attempted to provide an overview of the offices up for election in 2006, the petition process, the importance of third parties and their ballot lines, and the process by which one becomes a party committee member.

Here in part II of this series on New York State I will attempt to provide some detail on the incumbent statewide officals, statewide enrollment numbers, and past election results. I have listed challengers I know of but not in detail. If you know of challengers please provide that information and links in the comments. By no means am I an expert on New York politics so please feel free to add, subtract, correct, any errors or oversights in the comments.

So... on to the information....

Statewide offices up for election in 2006:

Governor: George E. Pataki - Republican
Lt. Governor: Mary O. Donohue - Republican
Comptroller: Alan G. Hevesi - Democrat
Attorney General: Eliot Spitzer - Democrat
U.S. Senator: Hillary Rodham Clinton - Democrat

New York has many small third parties. As discussed in the first part of this series, control of these third parties ballot lines can often be the margin of victory in elections. The current (as of Nov. 1, 2005) statewide voter enrollment figures for New York State are as follows:

Total Enrolled Voters: 11,619,137
Democrats (D): 5,471,770
Republicans (R): 3,142,581
Blanks (B): 2,334,392
Independence (I): 331,295
Conservative (C): 155,092
Liberal (L): 71,105
Right to Life (T): 41,268
Green (G): 37,222
Working Families (W): 30,391
Libertarian: 664
Marijuana Reform: 170
Other: 3,187


Note: In New York we have a party known as the "Independence Party." Consequently, what most people think of as "independent" voters, i.e. voters that are registered but not as members of any particular political party, are listed as "blanks." The result of the name confusion between "independence" and "independent" is that there are many voters registered in the "Independence" party that believe they are registered as independent voters and not a member of any party.

Governor: George E. Pataki - Republican

George Pataki is a three term Republican Governor of New York. First elected in 1994. Re-elected in 1998 and 2002. Gov. Pataki has announced that he will not run for re-election in 2006.

1994:
Pataki/McCaughey-Ross
:
R - 2,156,057
C - 328,605
Tax Cut Now - 54,040
Total: 2,538,702

Cuomo/Lundine:
D - 2,272,903
W - 92,001
Total: 2,364,904

Golisano/Fusco:
I - 217,490

Note: New York also has provisions for the "on the fly" creation of third party ballot lines such as the "Tax Cut Now" line seen above. Please refer to the 523 PDF pages of New York State election law often described as "Byzantine" for an explanation of how that works.

There were several third party candidates that received smaller numbers of votes.

1998:
Pataki/Donohue
:
R - 2,223,264
C - 348,727
Total: 2,571,991

Vallone/Frankel:
D - 1,518,992
W - 51,325
Total: 1,570,317

Golisano/Oliver:
I - 364,056

McCaughey-Ross/Reiter:
L - 77,915

Again, there were several third party candidates that received smaller vote totals of which Pataki's ousted first term Lt. Gov Betsey McCaughey-Ross received the most.

2002:
Pataki/Donohue
:
R - 2,085,407
C - 176,848
Total: 2,262,255

McCall/Mehiel:
D - 1,443,531
W - 90,533
Total: 1,534,064

Golisano/Donohue:
I - 654,016

As always, there were several third party candidates that received votes. The Right to Life and Green Party candidates each received just over 40,000 votes. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat and son of former Gov Mario Cuomo that earlier withdrawn from the race, received 15,761 votes on the Liberal line. The Marijuana Reform candidate received just over 20,000 votes and the Libertarian's a hair over 5,000. A total of 111,890 ballots were in the blank or void category. A total of 4,690,958 ballots were cast.

2006:
New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has announced his intent to run for Governor.

Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi who also runs a state government reform campaign called Fix Albany has long been rumored to be interested in running for Governor. Rumor has it that Sen. Chuck Schumer may have decided to urge and/or support Suozzi as part of a personal rivalry with Eliot Spitzer. I am told that Jan. 13 is a likely announcement date for Mr. Suozzi.

The Republican race is less clear. Tom Golisano switched his registration from the Independence Party that he started to the Republican Party in order to run as a Republican. Former Massachusetts Governor Willian Weld, now a New York resident, has started raising funds. New York Secretary of State Randy Daniels has stated his interest in running. John Faso, former State Assembly Minority leader and 2002 candidate for Comptroller, is also raising funds for a run. Though I have not personally heard him mentioned before, Assemblyman Pat Manning is also running and has received some Conservative Party endorsements.

The Republican Party appears to be in disarray. A December 12 date had been set for a meeting of Republican County Chair's to nominate a candidate but many are calling for that vote to be delayed. Gov Pataki is said to favor Bill Weld. State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno favors Tom Golisano. Pataki is strongly oppossed to Golisano due to bad blood from the past campaigns. Pataki and Bruno are increasingly at odds over just about everything these days.

In addition, the Conservative Party is threatening to run it's own candidate and not cross-endorse the Republican candidate, particularly if the Republican candidate is Bill Weld. This is very significant for both parties. In order to maintain an automatic ballot line for the next four years a party must receive 50,000 votes for Governor on their line. By running it's own candidate the Conservative Party risks not receiving those 50,000 votes and losing it's ballot line. By not running a candidate acceptable to the Conservative Party the Republican Party risks losing their potential margin of victory in a close race. Also, the Conservative ballot line quite often is the difference between winning and losing for down ballot races. This is very significant for local and state officials that rely on those additional votes for themselves and their supporters.

Eliot Spitzer is easily the current favorite to win the Demcoratic nomination and the general election for the next Governor of New York. Tom Suozzi however, is not a light weight challenger and must be taken seriously should he decide to run, particularly if rumors of support from Sen. Chuck Schumer are true and Schumer puts his money where his rumors are. My county party has already endorsed Eliot Spitzer. During that process I was reminded by a longtime member of the party that years ago New York City Mayor Ed Koch was seen as a lock for the Democratic nomination but it was Mario Cuomo that ended with the nomination and a subsequent three terms as Governor of New York.

The Republican side of things is not clear at all. They are at several severe disadvantages and their disarray seems to reflect this. There is a large and growing enrollment disadvantage. Their is voter fatigue from three terms of a Republican Governor. There is fatigue over a state government that has continued and worsened its dysfunctional ways. There is unrest regarding the national Republican Party. There is an apparent break between the Conservatives and the majority moderate "Rockefellar" Republicans. There is an apparent lack of organization and leadership due to a growing split between the two most powerful Republicans in state government, Gov. George Pataki and State Sen. Majority Leader Joe Bruno. And finally, the Republicans face a bevy of strong and even superstar quality Democratic candidates in just about every high profile race this year. They also are in danger of losing their slim (5 seat) majority in the State Senate which if coupled with the loss of the Governor's mansion would take them completely out of power in New York state government (Democrats hold a more than 2 to 1 majority in the state assembly).

Lt. Governor: Mary O. Donohue - Republican

Elected as George Pataki's Lt. Governor in 1998 after an acrimonious split between Pataki and his first term Lt. Governor Betsey McCaughey-Ross, Mary Donohue has previous experience as a County District Attorney and a State Supreme Court Justice. The post of Lt. Gov. has almost no governmental power at all. While apparently well liked there is just not a lot to say about a New York Lt. Governor (see above for election results).

Dr. Jon Cohen, a Democrat, is running for Lt. Governor, as is Leecia Eve an attorney, former counsel to Sen. Biden, and both former counsel and current advisor to Sen. Clinton. I am unaware of any Republican candidates having stepped forward yet.

Comptroller: Alan G. Hevesi - Democrat

State Comptroller Alan Hevesi won election in 2002 when previous Comptroller, Democrat H. Carl McCall, ran for Governor. Hevesi defeated then Assembly Minority leader John Faso.

2002:
Faso
:
R - 1,577,957
I - 202,384
C - 152,763
Total: 1,933,104

Hevesi:
D - 1,962,789
L - 42,773
W - 90,351
Total: 2,095,913

I believe that Alan Hevesi is running for re-election. I am unaware of anyone running against him at this time.

Attorney General: Eliot Spitzer - Democrat

I will detail this election in a separate post as there are numerous high quality candidates looking to follow in Eliot Spitzer's footsteps.

U.S. Senator: Hillary Rodham Clinton - Democrat

Sen. Clinton, the first First Lady to be elected to office, was elected to her first Senate term in 2000 to the seat vacated by the retiring Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Her opponent was Congressman Rick Lazio. There were several other third party candidates as well.

2000:
Lazio
:
R - 2,724,589
C - 191,141
Total: 2,915,730

Clinton:
D - 3,562,415
L - 82,801
W - 102,094
Total: 3,747,310

Sen. Clinton is running for re-election. In recent days two challenges within the Democratic Party have emerged. 2002 Green Party congressional candidate Steve Greenfield who recently switched his party enrollment from the Greens to the Democrats and Union labor organizer Jonathan Tasini have both announced their intentions to challenge Sen. Clinton from the left. Both are anti-war candidates.

Republican candidate, Westchester County District Attonry Jeanine Pirro, is currently her most high profile challenger. A rough start to her campaign, similar positions on several hot button issues to Sen. Clinton, and the general disarray within the Republican Party has several high ranking Republicans urging her to run for Attorney General instead of U.S. Senator. As of this moment she is still running for Senator but that may be subject to change as these very public calls for her to switch have damaged an already in trouble campaign.

Also running is former City of Yonkers Mayor John Spencer. Spencer is potentially more acceptable to Conservatives which is one of the issues surrounding Pirro. William Brenner an attorney and 2004 candidate for congress is also running.

Sen. Clinton is virtually assured of winning this election and winning big. Sen. Clinton is also widely assumed to be preparing for a run for President in 2008.

In the next post I will attempt to cover the highly contested race to succeed Eliot Spitzer as State Attorney General.

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