2012 elections preview: New York voters to choose nominees in legislative primaries

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September 12, 2012

By Ballotpedia's State legislative team

The long primary season finally comes to a close tomorrow as New York voters head to the polls to make their choices known.

Here's what to watch for in New York, where polling places will be open In New York City and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Erie, polls open at 6 AM and close at 9 PM. In all other counties, polls open at 12 Noon and close at 9 PM.[1]

Contested Primaries in New York -- September 13, 2012
State Legislature
(213 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 46 (21.60%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 17 (7.98%)

State legislature

New York State Senate elections, 2012 and New York State Assembly elections, 2012

There are 213 total legislative seats with elections in 2012 -- 63 Senate seats and 150 House seats.

There are 46 (21.60%) contested Democratic primaries and 17 (7.98%) contested Republican primaries. Thus, there are 63 races tomorrow with at least two candidates on the ballot. The 14.79% figure of total contested primaries in New York is lower than the national contested average of 18.40% in 2012.


A total of 2 incumbents - Republicans Owen H. Johnson and James Alesi - did not run for re-election in 2012.

Republicans currently control the chamber by a margin of 33-29. Due to redistricting many incumbents are running for re-election in different districts. Additionally, a new district was created, bringing the total number of seats in the chamber to 63.

A total of 14 incumbents - 8 Democrats and 6 Republicans - are facing a primary challenge. Here are some noteworthy races to keep an eye on:

Democratic Party District 10: Incumbent Shirley Huntley first joined the Senate in 2007. She was re-elected in 2008 and 2010 unopposed. This year, however, she faces two opponents - New York City Councilman James Sanders, Jr. and real estate professional/community activist Gian A. Jones. One reason for the multiple challenges is due to Huntley's ongoing legal troubles. On August 27, 2012, she was indicted for her role in a scheme to steal taxpayer money from her own non-profit. Huntley pleaded not guilty in the case.[2][3]
Democratic Party District 31: Earlier this year Adriano Espaillat challenged longtime Congressman Charles Rangel in the Democratic primary for U.S. House. The results were very close and raised a number of questions about actions by the New York State Board of Elections. In the end, Espaillat lost the primary and is now seeking re-election to the state Senate. His campaign has been opposed by Rangel, who has backed the candidacy of freshman Assemblyman Guillermo Linares. Political leaders have split on their support in the race, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg supporting Linares and Gov. Andrew Cuomo backing Espaillat.[4][5]
Republican Party District 60: Freshman incumbent Mark J. Grisanti has been targeted in his race for re-election by anti-gay marriage advocates.[6] Earlier this year, Grisanti switched his vote at the last minute to support marriage equality legislation, which ultimately passed. This brought great anger from social conservatives, including the influential Conservative Party, who refused to endorse Grisanti's re-election. Grisanti won his 2010 campaign by only 519 votes. He faces attorney Kevin Stocker in the primary.[7]


A total of 18 incumbents - 8 Democrats and 10 Republicans - did not run for re-election in 2012.

Democrats currently control the chamber by a margin of 99-49-1-1.

A total of 25 incumbents - 21 Democrats and 4 Republicans - are facing a primary challenge. Here are some noteworthy races to watch:

Democratic Party District 55: Incumbent William Boyland has represented District 55 since winning a special election in 2003. He has easily won re-election since and was unopposed in the 2010 primary. However, with allegations of corruption circulating around him since early 2011, Boyland drew six primary challengers - Nathan Bradley, Anthony T. Jones, Christopher J. Durosinmi, Roy Antoine, Anthony L. Herbert, and David R. Miller. Boyland surrendered to federal authorities on March 10, 2011 after being charged with accepting bribes. Acquitted of the charges on November 10, 2011, he was arrested less than a month later again on federal bribery charges. He pleaded not guilty to these charges. This past June it was reported that he is also under investigation by the Albany County District Attorney and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (D) for allegedly claiming taxpayer-funded reimbursement for fake expenses.[8][9]
Democratic Party District 80: Incumbent Naomi Rivera was first elected to the Assembly in 2004. This year she'll face three opponents in the Democratic primary - Adam R. Bermudez, Irene Estrada-Rukaj, and Mark Gjonaj. Initially the clear favorite in the race, Rivera has fallen as allegations of nepotism and corruption have arisen. Late last month it was reported that the state attorney general's office as well as the Bronx district attorney were investigating Rivera for misuse of public funds, including hiring two boyfriends to taxpayer-funded positions.[10][11]
Democratic Party District 84: Incumbent Carmen E. Arroyo has represented District 84 since 1995. In 2010 she was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. This year she faces two challengers - Maximino Rivera and Charles R. Serrano.
Republican Party District 94: The fight for the Republican nomination in District 94 has been a heated one as freshman Assemblyman Stephen Katz faces challenger Dario Gristina. Last month the two candidates went before the Westchester Fair Campaign Practices Committee to address accusations of unfair personal attacks by both sides. Katz complained that Gristina's campaign literature included false allegations. Gristina, meanwhile, accused Katz of unjustified character attacks. Ultimately the Committee found both sides guilty of unfair campaign practices.[12]
Republican Party District 115: Incumbent Janet L. Duprey first assumed office in 2007. She will face businessmen David J. Kimmel, whom she defeated in the 2010 primary, and educator Karen M. Bisso. One of the reasons the race is considered close is due to Duprey's support for same-sex marriage, something both of her opponents are against.[13]

New York State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 29 33
     Republican Party 33 30
Total 62 63

New York State Assembly
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 99 105
     Republican Party 49 44
     Independence Party of New York 1 1
     Vacancy 1 0
Total 150 150

See also

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